|ESPN.com: Spring 2013||[Print without images]|
Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols told the Los Angeles Times that his surgically repaired right knee will not prevent him from being ready for the season opener.
Pujols underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee in October, what he considered a minor cleanup procedure. He's been taking batting practice, fielding grounders and doing jogging on a treadmill during spring training.
Pujols, who isn't expected to appear in a spring training game for at least a few weeks, told the L.A. Times the lack of action won't hinder him from being ready when the Angels open their season on April 1 at Cincinnati.
Asked how many spring games he would need, Pujols told the paper, "None. As long as my body feels good, I'm ready to go. I've got 8,000 at-bats in the big leagues. I think I've got plenty."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia also indicated that his star should be ready.
"He's probably being a little tongue-in-cheek, but he's not going to need the 40 to 50 to 60 at-bats some guys need," Scioscia told the paper. "He needs to see some velocity to try to get locked and in and get his balance. ... But as long as he's playing by the middle of March, there's no doubt he'll be ready."
A three-time NL MVP, Pujols struggled early last season and hit .285 with 30 homers and 105 RBIs in his first season with the Angels after leaving the St. Louis Cardinals on a $240 million, 10-year deal.
He strained his right calf in late August, and was limited on the basepaths and in the field for the rest of the season. Pujols largely was a designated hitter down the stretch, and his leg injury noticeably affected his baserunning.