Rather than coming to town as a banker for the Dodgers, two organizations far from the prime of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert Pujols could start his Hall of Fame career as an icon in St. Louis quit being one of those legendary players like Derek Jeter or Tony Gwynn who have only played for one franchise.
“I made this decision 10 years ago. I don’t think I want to think about it, “said Pujols, who left the Cardinals after the 2011 World Series winning season to sign a 10-year $ 320 million deal with the Angels.” I have the right one Decision made for me. I thought it was the best decision for me and my family and that was it. There is nothing to regret. If I could go back and change something again, I wouldn’t change it. That was what the Lord for me and that is the decision that I made together with my family. ”
Pujols was only one guest player for an interleague series with the Angels in St. Louis in June 2019. It was a three day love affair for Pujols with standing ovation after standing ovation.
Expect more of this during the Dodgers four-game series with the Cardinals starting Monday.
“That means a lot. That is where it all starts for me. Even if I left there 10 years ago, I still have my roots there, my foundation, great people, great fans who have pretty much become my family “Said Pujols.” I think I had 13 record appearances (during the 2019 series) and all 13 record appearances got standing ovations and they stood until I tipped my hat. That was very special to me. It’s up there, if not the best moment of my career, probably one or two, including the World Series. ”
Pujols won’t say what to expect from this series, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he plans to start Pujols twice in the series with four games – Tuesday and Thursday against Cardinals left-handers JA Happ and Kwang -Hyun Kim.
Pujols (who has hit .256 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI in 68 games with the Dodgers) has not spoken about his plans beyond this season (when that 10-year deal expires). But his relatively successful move to a bank role with the Dodgers has fueled speculation that he may not be ready to retire, especially if the universal DH is adopted, creating more potential employers for Pujols to complete 700 career home runs follow.
But that Thursday afternoon game in St. Louis could very well be the 41-year-old Pujol’s last bow in the town where his Hall of Fame career began.
“Ultimately, I want it to be special,” said Pujols. “2019 was special when I was there for the first time and it will be special when we go there tomorrow for the week. I think at the end of the day I always try for myself to let these things play out as they are going to develop. I just don’t like to distract myself. I just try to prepare for the game and the things I have to do.
“Let things go the way I did in 2019, because at the end of the day you can’t control things. If you start thinking about how things are going to play out and things don’t go as you imagined, you will be disappointed. I’m just really looking forward to going back and hopefully we have a good series there. ”
As expected, Dodgers outfielder AJ Pollock placed on the injured list with a strained right Achilles tendon from the first inning of Saturday’s game. Right-handed Mitch White has been added to the active squad.
“A couple of weeks is probably where we are and we’ll pick up from there,” said Roberts. “But I still see him with us again this season.
“It’s a blow. Obviously, AJ was one of our better performers all year round. So it’s a big loss to lose this player. ”
With an average of 0.335, an OPS of 0.976, 10 home runs and 33 RBI, Pollock has been one of the National League’s best hitters since the beginning of July. With him out of the outfield mix, Cody Bellinger will be an everyday player again, said Roberts. He’d played left-handed pitching with right-handed Chris Taylor, Mookie Betts and Pollock.
Bellinger’s miserable season offensive shows no signs of a turnaround. He carried an average of .169 and a miserable 51 OPS-plus in Sunday’s game with just two hits in his previous 23 record appearances.
Roberts said Bellinger will take eighth place on the line-up and will be asked to “play a great defense to try and find ways to get on the ground”.
Kershaw is well on his way to making a three innings rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City, and may return to the Dodgers’ starting rotation after that.
Duffy will have another bullpen session this week, which may be thrown at hitters in a simulated gaming environment afterwards.
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Duffy has been to the IL twice this season with a flexor muscle in his limb. He hasn’t played a game since July 16. The Dodgers received it from the Kansas City Royals at close of trade in exchange for a later named player.
Max Scherzer will start the series on Monday in St. Louis and Roberts said Julio Urias would start the game against the Cardinals on Thursday. In between, “we don’t know who it is,” said Roberts. White could start on Tuesday or Wednesday and Andre Jackson was in San Francisco with the team on the taxi team.
Dodgers (RHP Max Scherzer 12-4, 2.40 ERA) at Cardinals (RHP Miles Mikolas 0-1, 4.41 ERA) Monday 1:15 p.m., SportsNet LA, 570 AM
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