Shocking as it was to see Albert Pujols get released during the season, his signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers arguably was even more of an unexpected development.
The Dodgers did stand to benefit from adding a veteran right-handed hitter to their bench, but Pujols didn’t offer the positional versatility the team greatly values and reports indicated the future Hall of Famer sought an everyday role.
Pujols refuted that and during an introductory press conference after signing with the Dodgers said he was fully on board with the plan president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts outlined.
Friedmand and Roberts were similarly bullish over the new addition, and the relationship has panned out better than expected.
This past weekend gave Pujols an opportunity to play against his former teammates, and he appeared in all three games of the Freeway Series. Upon unexpectedly being thrust into action on Sunday because of an injury to Justin Turner, Pujols clubbed a pinch-hit two-run home run.
“It’s not the first home run I’ve hit against the Angels,” he answered when asked if it carried more significance to hit a homer against his former teammates. “I’m just glad I was able to contribute and help our ballclub win this series.
“I really didn’t put too much thought into it. It can look sweeter because it’s against your former team, but I don’t look at it like that. I look at it as no matter who I’m facing, I’m trying to help our ballclub win.”
Pujols enjoyed reunion with Angels
When Pujols wasn’t competing against the Angels, he had a chance to see some of those he was close to. “It was great,” he said of the weekend series. “That’s the first time I’ve seen some of those guys since I got released.
“I still have a great relationship with 95% of those guys over there. It’s great to say hello during batting practice and see some of the guys that I’m close with on the other side. At the end of the day we all have a job to do, and that’s to get ready to play the game. As soon as I was done saying hello, I stayed focus on what I had to do to get ready for Friday.
“Today, not much preparation because unfortunately I had to come in because J.T. had a little injury. Hopefully he’s OK. We don’t want to come in because somebody got hurt. I didn’t get much preparation, but when my name was called I made sure I was ready to go. I’m glad I was able to contribute.”
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