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Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Angle: 'Honor' to take BP with Pujols

Associated Press

JUPITER, Fla. -- In an unlikely cage match, one of baseball's best hitters took batting practice Tuesday with one of the biggest names in professional wrestling.

Cardinals star Albert Pujols and wrestler Kurt Angle took turns slugging balls at spring training. Angle visited camp as part of Team Eckstein, named after World Series MVP David Eckstein, a lifelong wrestling fan. The St. Louis shortstop played the role of manager for a professional wrestling match in Orlando earlier this month.

Angle was working Tuesday to promote a Total Nonstop Action Wrestling pay-per-view event that will be held in St. Louis on April 15.

Angle took Pujols' batting pointers to heart.

"By the time he retires, he'll be considered one of the best ever. It was an honor him telling me what to do in there. It would be like me getting him in the ring," Angle said. "I really admire these guys because of their work ethic and the way they go all year long."

Eckstein managed a wrestler alongside Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski in a Jan. 11 professional wrestling pay-per-view event.

"We have one of the big stars in the game here with us today. It's definitely a thrill," Eckstein said.

Eckstein's brother, Rick, threw batting practice for the pair.

Angle said he wants to get Eckstein in the ring in the offseason. Eckstein and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said that's not likely.

"Those guys are big and very athletic. And it looks like it hurts, too," said the 5-foot-7, 165-pound Eckstein.

La Russa said he doesn't expect his shortstop to risk injury by entering a professional wrestling event.

"I think David is going to be [Angle's] towel man," La Russa said.