Pujols arrives at camp with new uniform, same look
Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 7:00 pm
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Decked out in Angels’ gear from head to toe, Albert Pujols looked like the same slugger whose swing in St. Louis became as symbolic as the Gateway Arch.
With a halo-topped “A” logo on his cap, Pujols, his massive chest and arms filling out every corner of his red shirt, sat behind a microphone and excitedly announced the start of a new stage of his career.
“Here I am,” he said.
And here he goes.
Arriving just as the morning sun crept above the horizon, and more than a week earlier than required, Pujols reported to training camp Monday with the Los Angeles Angels, who will pay the three-time NL MVP $240 million over the next 10 years to be the face of their franchise — and to hopefully bring them several World Series titles.
“I’m just really excited to be here, it feels good to be outside,” Pujols said during a news conference held at a nearby luxury hotel. “I’ve been training for three months, hitting in a cage in St. Louis, and it feels good to be here for some spring baseball.”
Although only the Angels’ pitchers and catchers had to be at camp this early, Pujols wanted to be there from Day One as well. That’s how the 32-year-old has done it since breaking into the big leagues in 2001 and he wasn’t about to change his routine.
He also felt it was important to begin bonding with his new teammates, some of whom were caught staring at him from across the clubhouse.
Driving a black Mercedes still tagged with Missouri license plates, Pujols pulled into the players’ parking lot at 7:15 a.m. There were only a handful of fans waiting to catch a glimpse of the nine-time All-Star, who helped lead the Cardinals to a championship last season before leaving the only baseball home he had known.
Pujols stopped in the equipment room and shook a few hands before heading to the clubhouse.
Published in The Messenger 2.21.12