JUPITER, FLA. (AP) - Physically, this has been one of Albert Pujols‘ best spring trainings in a long time. No rehabbing from elbow woes, unlike 2009 and 2010.
The three-time MVP isn’t worried about the mental end, either.
“I feel pretty good,” Pujols said in an interview this week. “Really good.”
Free agency can wait. He’s not interested in the chatter about potential destinations, or whose payroll he might someday alter dramatically.
“I already blocked it out. Two or three weeks ago, as soon as I showed up here,” Pujols said. “I’m playing baseball and that’s it. Playing baseball. I’m excited to play baseball again.”
The Cardinals had been hopeful of keeping talks alive behind the scenes. So far, it’s been status quo.
Cleanup hitter Matt Holliday, who signed a seven-year, $120 million free agent deal before 2010 spring training, hasn’t noticed any change in Pujols. Nor should there be, Holliday adds, for a player considered one of the sport’s best.
“He’s going to get paid a ton of money either way,” Holliday said. “If he gets hurt or hits .200 this year, he’s still going to get a ton of money.”
The 31-year-old Pujols will make $16 million in the option year following a seven-year, $100 million deal. He had been seeking a new deal perhaps a decade in length that would have made him one of the highest-paid players in the major leagues and allow him to retire with the Cardinals.
In January, team chairman Bill DeWitt said Pujols was “irreplaceable.” He’s the only player in major league history to hit 30 or more home runs in his first 10 seasons and has 100 RBIs in all 10 seasons.
At the team’s winter fan festival in mid-January, Pujols said he’d have to start making concessions to age. But after an offseason free of rehab duties, he says he hasn’t altered his training regimen a bit.
“Why do you want to change your routine if you’ve been successful with it?” Pujols said. “I don’t have to change anything, I feel good.”View Entire Story
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