The Los Angeles Dodgers activated Albert Pujols and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and optioned Keibert Ruiz and Alex Vesia to Triple-A Oklahoma City ahead of the series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The signing of Pujols to a contract for the remainder of the season was finalized Monday afternoon. “My agent and I, and obviously Andrew and Doc, all had great communication, great talk. It went really well,” Pujols said of his decision to join the Dodgers.
“Really great plan about things, about the organization. They were really excited to have me here. That’s what led me to the decision to come here. I’m really excited to help this organization this year to get another ring.”
The L.A. Angels designated the future Hall of Famer for assignment on May 6 and he cleared waivers one week later. It was reported Pujols sought an everyday role at first base, which led to a separation from the Angels, but he refuted that notion.
“I told them I’m here to do whatever. Pinch-hit, first base, whatever they want,” Pujols said. “At the end of the day I’m just excited to have this opportunity to wear this uniform. Glad to be here. A bunch of great guys in this clubhouse and they already are making me feel at home.”
Tsutsugo, 29, appeared in 26 games for the Tampa Bay Rays this season. He’s had marginal success since joining the team last year from the Yokohama DeNa BayStars of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.
The Dodgers claimed Tsutsugo off waivers from the Rays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
“I’m very excited about this player, this person,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Obviously had a well-decorated career in Japan. Coming over here, just hasn’t really got any traction with the Rays. … There’s things that our hitting guys have already dug into.
“It’s kind of if you do a side by side of him in Japan and him with the Rays, he’s a shell of himself. There’s obviously some things we’ve got to talk through and we want to hear his take on where he’s at mechanically and process-wise, so we can have a conversation and work together to kind of figure this thing out.
“Because there’s a lot of upside. There’s life to the bat. He’s a professional hitter.”
The Dodgers envision Tsutsugo playing first base, third base and left field, along with serving as a pinch-hit option off the bench.
Vesia, Ruiz return to OKC
Ruiz is headed back to Oklahoma City after a brief stint with the Dodgers. He was recalled Sunday when Corey Seager was put on the 10-day injured list, and struck out in a pinch-hit appearance during the series finale against the Miami Marlins.
All six of Ruiz’s games with the Dodgers this season have come off the bench. The switch-hitting catcher is a combined 0-for-6 over five games since slugging a home run in his 2021 debut.
Vesia joins Ruiz in returning to OKC one day after logging an inning of work in a bullpen game. Vesia has allowed three runs on one hit in four innings across three appearances this year.
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