Albert Pujols, guest speaker

April, 30, 2012
4/30/12
5:24
PM PT
The Angels had a hitters' meeting before their three-game series with the Minnesota Twins Monday, probably a good idea since they're 13th in the American League in runs, home runs and OPS, not to mention coming off a stretch of seven games in which they scored a total of 11 runs.

One of the players to speak up was Albert Pujols.

"He said, 'I know I'm not going to be like this the whole year, guys,' " Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said.

The Angels certainly hope not. After signing a 10-year, $240 million contract to come to Anaheim, he's off to the worst start of his career, batting .216 and in the second-longest homer-less streak of his career, 88 at-bats, going into Monday.

The Angels view the Pujols' problem as more a matter of trying too hard rather than of diminished confidence. His comment would seem to suggest he remains confident in his ability to hit.

The entire team seems to be waiting for Pujols to break out of this slump so it can relax and display the firepower it thought it had in spring training with the addition of Pujols and the return of Kendrys Morales. It's almost like the entire team is taking on Pujols' stress.

"This is not all on Albert, but I do think he's that dynamic a player that he has the ability to be that catalyst," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Once we stoke the offense and get it going, it doesn't have to be contingent on Albert."

Here are lineups for Monday's game:

Minnesota

Denard Span CF

Jamey Carroll SS

Josh Willingham LF

Justin Morneau DH

Danny Valencia 3B

Ryan Doumit C

Trevor Plouffe RF

Chris Parmalee 1B

Alexi Casilla 2B

Angels

Mike Trout CF

Maicer Izturis 3B

Albert Pujols 1B

Kendrys Morales DH

Torii Hunter RF

Howie Kendrick 2B

Vernon Wells LF

Erick Aybar SS

Chris Iannetta C

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jered Weaver
WINS ERA SO IP
18 3.59 169 213
OTHER LEADERS
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169