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Monday, April 2, 2012
Albert Pujols discusses pressure

By Mark Saxon

He signed a contract that's within $100 million of the annual GDP of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country of nearly 74 million people. He's playing in a new, tougher league, with a new set of teammates and for a fan base hoping he can take the franchise to unprecedented heights.

There might be a little pressure on Albert Pujols, wouldn't you think?

But after a scorching month in the Cactus League (.407, six home runs, 17 RBIs), Pujols said he's not worried about ramped-up expectations four days before Opening Day. Last season's baseball season was littered with players who signed big contracts with new teams and flopped.

"I've felt pressure for 13 years, as a professional," Pujols said. "To tell you the truth, there are three times I feel pressure: My first at-bat in spring training, my first at-bat Opening Day and my first at-bat in the playoffs. The rest, it's baseball. My dad always told me you can't be afraid of making a mistake... There's no pressure at all. I'm playing the game that I love."

Pujols met with the media before Monday night's exhibition game against Dodgers at Angel Stadium.