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Pujols completely healthy, happy with winter progress

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Albert Pujols' left foot is now "completely healed," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Monday from the Winter Meetings.

The Angels' first baseman, who was recently on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with his foundation, got "a thumbs-up" from the team's medical department in Southern California last week, indicating that the partial tear of his left plantar fascia has completely healed. Pujols has been hitting since the first day of the offseason and will begin defensive work and agility drills later in the winter, as usual.

Pujols entered Spring Training this year limited by offseason arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, then plantar fasciitis -- a more aggressive form than he'd ever dealt with -- crept up in March. Pujols lasted only 99 games -- 65 of which were spent as a designated hitter -- and posted an uncharacteristic .258/.330/.437 slash line before his season abruptly ended on July 26.

On ESPN Deportes Radio in mid-November, though, Pujols said his foot is "99.9-percent healthy."

Now, apparently, he's got that extra .1 percent.

"The last time I spoke with Albert, he felt great about where he is in his offseason progression," Dipoto said. "He was more aggressive out of the chute because of his downtime in the regular season and how quickly he got out and started swinging the bat, maybe earlier in the process than he ordinarily does. Those are all positives for us.

"Albert's in good shape. He's not yet started his defensive work and agilities, but everything else is on or ahead of schedule of what he would normally have in an offseason, and that's our expectation. He's ready to go."

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