“This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” said Albert Pujols on Monday afternoon about his time with the Dodgers.
“I’m having a great time right now, I’m enjoying every moment and I’m happy every time I’m out there that I can help this ball club win, and that’s my goal. I really don’t think ahead and just concentrate on the moment and I am enjoying this moment. ”
In the field, Pujols was exactly what the Dodgers had hoped for. He was hired to provide offensive production against left-handed pitching, and he did just that by beating .372 (16 for 43) with five home runs and 13 RBIs against left-handed people.
And Pujols’ new teammates last month raved about his clubhouse presence and the positive energy he has brought to the team. Pujols returns the compliment by explaining why he is enjoying his moment in blue.
“I think just the chemistry, the chance,” he said. “I think to be around experienced guys who have the same attitude as me when it comes to attracting and helping this organization. I think it’s just a great mix of guys. It reminds me of my time in St. Louis. This is how I felt when I walked into the clubhouse from day one. Just the mood and the energy that were in the clubhouse. ”
Unmentioned is the time between his days in St. Louis and his Dodger days – the nine seasons he spent with the Angels.
When asked, Pujols said he enjoyed putting on a big league uniform every day, including with the Angels, “even though we knew that we weren’t playing that well back then and I know they were Fans and the organization were disappointed … that we didn’t come first or that we played better. ”
The Angels made it to the playoffs only once in Pujols’ nine seasons and lost records in each of their last five seasons as his 10-year $ 240 million deal became more and more troublesome. Could the “fun” he’s had for the first time in a while be simply a reaction to playing for a competitor?
“I don’t think it’s because you’re talking about success than my first success,” said Pujols, two-time World Series champion with the Cardinals. “I have had success for many years in my career. This is not the first time.
“I don’t know, I can’t tell you what it is. … I just enjoy every opportunity and every moment. I can’t tell you what it is, but … I know when I’m healthy, what I can, and I work hard every day. I don’t take anything for granted. I think these are the things that have helped me so far. ”
Infielder Max Muncy (oblique) and outfielder / first baseman Cody Bellinger (thigh) played on Monday afternoon in a simulated game environment against left-hander Scott Alexander (shoulder). Roberts said Muncy will be activated by the injury list and the game will start on Tuesday night. Bellinger will be activated and will start on Wednesday.
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Shortstop Corey Seager (hand) did not travel to San Diego with the team. He stayed in Arizona and took at-bats against pitchers at the Camelback Ranch. Seager is expected to begin minor league injury rehabilitation later this week.
The Dodgers returned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday with right-handed Edwin Uceta, promoting outfielder Zach Reks. Reks made his major league debut against the Padres, starting in left field.
Reks was the 2017 Dodgers’ 10-round pick from the University of Kentucky, scoring 0.341 in Triple-A with a 1.022 OPS. He reached the base in 30 of his 31 starts for OKC and was ranked in the top 4 among Triple-A West (formerly Pacific Coast League) hitters in doubles (14), runs (32) and on-base percentages (0.445).
Dodgers (LHP Clayton Kershaw, 8-6, 3.36 ERA) in Padres (LHP Blake Snell, 2-3, 5.72 ERA) Tuesday, 7:10 pm, SportsNet LA, MLB Network, 570 AM
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