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Albert Pujols already drawing a crowd in Angels camp

February 20, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Albert Pujols during his first informal workout with the Angels.
Albert Pujols during his first informal workout with the Angels. (Mike DiGiovanna / Los Angeles…)

Tempe, Ariz. -- About 200 fans, a rarity for the first day of Angels camp, gathered behind the right-field fence for Albert Pujols' first informal workout with his new team, a short session consisting of fielding grounders at first base and batting practice on a lower field at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Pujols, who had spent his 11-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals before signing a 10-year, $240-million deal with the Angels in December, reported to camp a week before position players are scheduled for their first workout.

He pulled his black Mercedes-Benz into the stadium parking lot at about 7:15 a.m., met several clubhouse attendants, many of his new teammates and exchanged a hug with owner Arte Moreno in the clubhouse.

"When he first came in he shook my hand, and he killed it," Angels catcher Hank Conger said. "He has a strong grip. It's pretty cool to see him in the clubhouse. The aura and the presence he brought is definitely different."

Pujols sat in on Manager Mike Scioscia's morning meeting before heading to the team's minor league complex, where he took ground balls off the bat of third-base coach Dino Ebel and hit off batting coach Mickey Hatcher. It took him five rounds of batting practice before he finally launched a ball over the wall.

Pujols is scheduled to meet the media at noon PST. We'll have more later at www.latimes.com/sports.

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