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Albert Pujols

SPORTS
March 30, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
For more than two decades, the West Coast has played the part of Major League Baseball's strange uncle. You know, the one who is invited to the family reunion but hardly ever gets to sit at the head table. In the last 22 seasons, only three teams west of the Rockies - the team and the mountain range - have won a World Series. In 17 of those seasons, a team from the Pacific time zone didn't even advance to the game's biggest showcase. However, the tide may be turning. In the National League, San Francisco has won two of the last three championships and the Dodgers, with the game's highest payroll and best pitcher in 26-year-old Clayton Kershaw, seem poised to begin a dynasty.
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SPORTS
March 30, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
Mike Trout could have another monster season. Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton could bounce back from career-worst years. Joe Smith and Sean Burnett could add much-needed depth and reliability to the bullpen. And it might not matter. For the Angels to end their four-year playoff drought, they will need six months of consistently strong pitching from a rotation that has little margin for error or injury. The projected starters should be better than the 2013 group, though inexperience at the back of the rotation is a cause for concern.
SPORTS
March 29, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
Angels 6, Dodgers 2 AT THE PLATE: On the day he signed his six-year, $144.5-million contract extension, Angels center fielder Mike Trout singled and hit a solo home run in his first two at-bats. Kole Calhoun hit a three-run home run to right field in the second inning, and Albert Pujols and David Freese had run-scoring doubles in the first. Utility man Chone Figgins hit a two-run double into shallow right field in the third inning for the Dodgers, who pulled their starters after one at-bat.
SPORTS
March 23, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
TEMPE, Ariz. - Veteran first baseman Carlos Pena followed his heart to Anaheim, signing a minor league deal with the Angels even though his position was firmly occupied by Albert Pujols, who is in the third year of a 10-year, $240-million deal. “It's hard to put into words,” Pena said in February. “You just have this feeling, this hunch, that this is the right place.” It wasn't. Pena, 35, hit .139 (five for 36) with 14 strikeouts in 20 spring games and was released Sunday along with veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba and infielder Chad Tracy.
SPORTS
March 23, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
Angels 5, Indians 2 AT THE PLATE: Albert Pujols had an eventful day, hitting a run-scoring triple to right-center in the first inning - his first triple as an Angel - getting hit in the left elbow by a pitch in the third and doubling to left in the fifth. Josh Hamilton singled twice and drove in two runs with outs, and Ian Stewart, making a late push for a utility spot, hit a solo homer in the eighth. ON THE MOUND: Reliever Michael Kohn entered with a 7.36 earned-run average in eight spring appearances, walking four and striking out nine in 7 1/3 innings and struggling to find his rhythm.
SPORTS
March 20, 2014 | By Bill Shaikin
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit home runs in the same game three times last year. The Angels won all three. So it was little wonder that the Angels were encouraged on Thursday, when Trout and Pujols each hit home runs in a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Trout hit his second home run in two days, and Pujols hit his first home run of the spring. Jered Weaver and four relievers combined on a four-hitter. Weaver gave up two runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings, with no walks and five strikeouts.
SPORTS
March 19, 2014 | By Bill Shaikin
PHOENIX -- The Angels' first-team offense played together for the first time this spring. It was quite a first impression: The varsity lineup played six innings and scored in every one of them. Mike Trout homered, Albert Pujols doubled twice and Howie Kendrick singled three times, sparking the Angels to a 14-10 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. The Angels ranked sixth in the American League in runs last season. They expect to do better this season, if they can keep Trout, Pujols and Josh Hamilton out of the training room.
SPORTS
March 17, 2014 | By Bill Shaikin
TEMPE, Ariz. -- It had been a calf injury that delayed Josh Hamilton's Cactus League debut until Monday. He singled for his first hit, then took off for second base. For the Angels, that was as good a sign as any. The swing might not be there yet, but the legs are back. "It felt good," Hamilton said. "I did all the things you're supposed to be able to do on the field. " On Monday he did, since the Angels limited him to designated hitter in a game against the San Francisco Giants.
SPORTS
March 14, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The benefits of a healthy Albert Pujols shouldn't just be felt at the plate this season. Pujols, relegated to designated hitter for 65 of 99 games in an injury-shortened 2013 season, has started nine of 10 games at first base this spring and has already flashed some of the range, hands, reactions and skills that earned him National League Gold Glove Awards with St. Louis in 2006 and 2010. “I'm really excited and happy with how I'm playing at first base and how I'm moving,” Pujols said.
SPORTS
March 8, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
TEMPE, Ariz. --  Kole Calhoun is having a little identity crisis. "I've kind of had these weird baseball personalities," the Angels right fielder said. "Am I a leadoff guy? A power guy? A guy who steals bases? I don't know. I just want to play, and you can define what it is that I do. " The Angels want Calhoun to bat leadoff, but they don't need him to be Rickey Henderson . They'd gladly take Calhoun's final two months of 2013, when he was called up from triple A in late July and hit .282 with a .347 on-base percentage, a .462 slugging percentage, eight home runs and 32 runs batted in. "With some of the adjustments he's made with his swing and approach, he's really become a tough out," Manager Mike Scioscia said.
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