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New sign tracks countdown to Pujols' 500th homer

ANAHEIM -- Right behind Section 249, left of the scoreboard, above the grassy area in center field and below the flags at Angel Stadium, sits a 10-foot sign that will count down Albert Pujols' quest to reach 500 career home runs.

Pujols was eight away when the Angels and Mariners took the field for Wednesday night's series finale, but he's never comfortable when the focus shifts to his individual accomplishments.

"Let's wait until I hit it," Pujols said. "I'm pretty sure I'm going to be pretty emotional about it -- but it depends how it happens, too."

Meaning he'll talk openly about it if it comes as part of an Angels win and probably dismiss it if it comes in a loss.

"My focus is on helping this team win," said Pujols, who's also one RBI shy of joining Alex Rodriguez as the two active players with 1,500. "I'm going to have plenty of time, hopefully after I retire, to look at everything I've accomplished in this game. Right now, my goal is to try to win championships and hopefully stay healthy."

Pujols, 34, looked primed to reach 500 homers last season, until a partial tear of his left plantar fascia ended his season on July 26, with a career-low 17 home runs. When he reaches 500, he'll be the 26th player in history to reach the milestone -- with an additional seven years in his contract to keep adding on.

"We'll talk when it happens," Pujols said. "Hopefully it happens soon and we can talk about it and get it over with."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez.
Read More: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Albert Pujols