Albert Pujols takes this stuff seriously.
It's spring training. Kids are playing Whiffle ball down the right-field line, vendors are hawking funnel cakes. None of these statistics are going to matter in four weeks. And Pujols looks like he's playing in the biggest game of his life every day.
Pujols went 0-for-2 with a walk (and a viciously struck foul ball that nearly knocked over a potato-chip stand) in the Angels' 6-5 win over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday. He's now 3 for 7 with two walks this spring. He's not swinging at balls, as usual.
"He's incredibly focused, not only from the dugout, but to the on-deck circle to the batter's box," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It just doesn't seem like there are going to be any give-away pitches all year."
The Angels have three pretty good starting pitchers. OK, maybe more than pretty good. So far, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and C.J. Wilson have combined for six scoreless innings in their three starts. Haren allowed a walk, but got three strikeouts to get through two innings against Cleveland.
Should we care at this point?
"It means something when they're making pitches like they were, that's what's exciting," Scioscia said.
Jean Segura keeps doing things at shortstop that make you wonder whether the Angels will need Erick Aybar in a few years. Segura made another backhand stop on a well-struck liner and his all-around work has impressed, even away from the public eye.
"He's having a great spring training. On the practice field, he's really been impressive," Scioscia said.
Opposing pitchers have been throwing a lot of balls. The new thing is the Angels haven't been swinging at them. Through four games, the Angels have 21 walks. They were 11th in the AL in walks last season.