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Angels' Albert Pujols says he'll be ready for season opener

The slugger, who is recovering from surgery on his right knee, plans to be ready to play April 1 at Cincinnati.

March 01, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna

TEMPE, Ariz. — As he recovers from surgery on his right knee, Albert Pujols' spring-training routine hasn't changed much over 2 1/2 weeks. He is taking batting practice, fielding grounders hit at him and jogging on a treadmill.

He has not run the bases and appears at least two weeks away from playing in an exhibition game. But Pujols, 33, said Friday he would be ready for the April 1 season opener at Cincinnati. Asked how many spring games he would need, Pujols said, "None. As long as my body feels good, I'm ready to go."

He was serious. "I've got 8,000 at-bats in the big leagues," Pujols said. "I think I've got plenty."

Manager Mike Scioscia chuckled when told of Pujols' comments. "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 said. "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."

Pujols injured his knee in late August and was relegated to designated hitter for 24 of his final 33 games. He prefers to play defense but knows he will probably have to DH some more early in the season.

"It's hard to read the future," Pujols said. "This is the first time I've come to spring training dealing with an injury.

"If the season started tomorrow, I'd be playing, but there's no reason to push it. We're being cautious because we have time."

Shock treatment

If you saw a television interview of Jered Weaver after his two-inning, one-run, two-hit, two-strikeout effort in Friday's 16-8 exhibition win over the Dodgers, no, the Angels ace didn't have a nervous twitch or first-game jitters.

He was using a new H-wave electronic device that stimulates muscles and nerves to promote circulation and range of motion but causes the shoulder to twitch rather violently.

"I'm like a guinea pig with this new contraption," said Weaver, who has been slowed by occasional bouts of shoulder tendinitis. "It's like an electronic massage machine. It's supposed to knock out inflammation and replace ice. We'll see how it works."

Short hops

Reliever Bobby Cassevah, who cleared waivers and was removed from the 40-man roster Thursday, elected to become a free agent. He had a record of 1-1 with a 2.72 earned-run average in 30 games for the Angels in 2011 but was slowed by a shoulder injury last season.

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

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