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Albert Pujols, Erick Aybar mess with Yasiel Puig before game

The Los Angeles Angels are having a lot of fun with Yasiel Puig this week. One night after Albert Pujols showed up Puig by tagging up at first and taking second on a fly out to center, Pujols and Erick Aybar decided to mess with the young Dodgers star on the field before the game.

A few innings before Pujols tagged up and took second on Puig Monday night, Puig tried to double Aybar off at first on a fly ball. The two exchanged finger wags. The horseplay on the field was obviously a spillover from all the ribbing that was exchanged the night before.

In the end, Puig and the Dodgers got the last laugh with a walk-off win in the 9th inning.

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GIF via @cjzero

Albert Pujols shows up Yasiel Puig by tagging up and taking second (Video)

Albert Pujols taught Yasiel Puig a valuable lesson during Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers. When Pujols was on first with LA leading 5-0 in the eighth inning, he somehow managed to tag up and take second base on a fly out to center field.

Pujols, who doesn’t run well at all, completely caught Puig off guard. Puig nonchalantly fielded the fly ball before realizing what Pujols was up to. Albert easily beat the youngster’s throw and mocked him for it after the inning ended.

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Puig had fun with several of the Angels players over the course of the night. He made a catch on a line drive to center field two minutes earlier and tried to throw behind Erick Aybar to double him off at first, but Aybar got back safely. The two exchanged finger wags.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters after the game that he hopes Pujols taught Puig something.

“I hope he learns a lesson from it,” he said, per MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. “Albert knows how to play the game. Albert takes a few hard steps and if Yasiel comes up throwing, he stops. He drops his head and Albert knows there’s no play. We talked about them being an aggressive team. If you don’t pay attention, they will embarrass you, and he embarrassed him there.”

Puig has shown us on several occasions that he has a tremendous arm, which is what made Pujols’ successful tag up so hilarious. Now we see why Mattingly is hesitant to put Puig in center.

H/T Big League Stew

Manny Machado gunned out Albert Pujols AGAIN (Video)

Albert Pujols probably could not wait to get out of Baltimore on Thursday night. The next time Pujols rips a ground ball or line drive down the third base line, Manny Machado will not be there to gobble it up.

You now how Machado made that incredible off-balance throw to rob Pujols of a hit on Wednesday? The Orioles star did it again on Thursday, only this time he made it look easy. When Pujols scorched a one-hopper to Machado’s left, the 22-year-old must have remembered that he gunned Pujols out by several steps the night before. He set his feet this time.

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That throw could not have been more perfect. It helps that Pujols doesn’t run well, but his lack of speed takes nothing away from either one of Machado’s plays. Here’s Machado’s first throw as a refresher of the type of incredible week he has had:

Albert Pujols, Mike Trout mock Fernando Rodney with arrow exchange (Video)

There’s a little bit of a beef brewing between the Angels and the Mariners this year.

The teams have been two of the best in the AL this season and are competing for a playoff spot from the AL West. They also had a great 3-game series in Anaheim over the weekend, with the teams splitting 3-2 extra-innings wins the first two games, and the Angels getting a walk-off 6-5 win on Sunday.

Albert Pujols arrowDuring their comeback in the 9th inning Sunday, Angels stars Albert Pujols and Mike Trout even mocked Mariners closer Fernando Rodney, who blew the save and took the loss.

Rodney walked Trout to start the 9th, and Pujols inside-outed a fastball down the right field line for a tying double to make the score 5-5. After Trout scored the tying run, he and Pujols exchanged arrows to mock Rodney, who fires a bow and arrow as his save celebration. Keep in mind that after escaping a jam in the 8th inning, Rodney did his arrow celebration and pointed it towards the Angels dugout.

As @lbsports notes, Rodney did the bow and arrow thing after ... on Twitpic

After allowing the tying run, Rodney gave up a single, intentional walk and got a double play. Following another intentional walk, Grant Green hit a walk-off RBI single to give the Angels their 59th win of the season.

There will be other days for Rodney, but you know this had to hurt. And he has no room to get mad at the Angels for mocking him when he started things by pretending to fire one of his arrows at the Angels dugout.

“Fernando’s animated. Our guys noticed it,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after the game.

Angels starter Tyler Skaggs, who took a no decision, had even better quotes.

“I did not,” Skaggs said when asked if he saw Rodney fire the arrow at the Angels dugout, “but I heard about it and I’m glad we scored and won because that’s ridiculous. Just goes to show you — don’t rile up our team because we have a lot of good players. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. I’m looking forward to the next time we play them.”

What goes around comes around. Also keep in mind that Rodney pitched for the Angels in 2010 and 2011 and was not happy by the end of his stint with the team. After losing the closer job in 2011, Rodney complained about his lack of a role and said the team should trade him. Maybe some of that beef with the coaches still lingers for him.

Here’s another angle for Pujols doing the bow and arrow:

Albert Pujols blames groin injury for costly baserunning mistake

Albert Pujols baserunning

Albert Pujols says a swollen lymph gland in his groin is to blame for a costly baserunning mistake he made against the Royals on Sunday.

Pujols laced a line drive down the left field line in the top of the sixth inning of a 4-3 game between Kansas City and the Angels. The ball was hit sharply down the line and left fielder Alex Gordon was far away from it, so it looked like Pujols would cruise into second with an easy stand-up double. However, the ball caromed perfectly to Gordon, and he threw into second where Alcides Escobar tagged out Pujols, who sopped going hard a few feet from the bag because he thought he had it.

“I think it was one of those things that when I saw the ball, I got my mind set to slide,” Pujols said via the Angels website. “When I saw the ball tailing to the right, I kind of shut it down and that’s when I felt it. I’m not looking for an excuse. I should’ve run all the way through the bag. Obviously, they made a good play.”

So was it the groin injury or did Pujols just misjudge things? It sounds like a bit of both.

What made the error so costly is that two batters later, Erick Aybar hit a home run to tie the game. Had Pujols been on base, it would have given the Angels the lead. They lost 5-4.

Pujols says the injury doesn’t bother him when he swings and hadn’t bothered him on the bases until Sunday, so it’s not like it’s reason for Scioscia to take him out of the lineup. Albert has been nothing short of abysmal on the basepaths this season. The guy tries to take extra bases when he shouldn’t and has been thrown out at second trying to stretch doubles. He just needs to chill out and play station to station now.

Erick Aybar: Albert Pujols called 500th home run before game

Albert Pujols home runAlbert Pujols did something on Tuesday night that has never been done before in Major League Baseball history. He became the 26th player ever to hit 500 home runs in his career, but the Los Angeles Angels slugger is the only hitter to ever homer twice in one game to get to 500. And to make the feat even more impressive, Pujols supposedly called his shots.

Angels shortstop Erick Aybar said Pujols told his teammates before the game that Tuesday would be the night.

“He said he was going to hit two homers and drive in five runs,” Aybar told reporters, via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

Mike Trout heard it, too.

“If Albert tells you something, he’s going to do it,” Trout said.

After an injury-plagued 2013 season, Pujols is locked in. He leads the majors with eight home runs and is tied for second in the American League with 19 RBI. His swing feels so good right now that he even told his wife she might want to travel to Washington in addition to New York to watch his pursuit of 500. As it turned out, Pujols is so dialed in that his wife missed the milestone.

“You don’t see a 500th homer every night,” the 34-year-old said. “It’s been a great career. I thank the Lord for giving me the power and strength to play this game. The last couple years have been really tough, but I feel I’m getting my swing right where I want to be.”

Hitting 500 home runs is great. Angels fans should be even more excited about the fact that Pujols is swinging so well. If LA wants to contend for a title this season, they will need their best hitter to earn his paycheck.

Fan who caught Albert Pujols’ 500th homer gives it back for free

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Albert Pujols reached a major milestone during the Los Angeles Angels’ win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night when he blasted the 499th and 500th home runs of his career. Catching a 500th home run ball can be like hitting the lottery, but that’s only if you feel like negotiating. Tom Sherill, the 29-year-old Angels fan who caught Pujols’ 500th homer, asked for nothing.

“I’ll take whatever they want to give me, but I’m not going to be picky,”Sherrill told Angels broadcasters Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza on Fox Sports West, according to Big League Stew. “I just want to make sure that Albert gets the ball. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Sherill only ended up asking for one thing, and it wasn’t for himself. The ball he caught had deflected off the stomach of another fan. He wanted that fan and his children to have a chance to meet Pujols as well.

Big League Stew’s David Brown pointed out that the Angels gave Sherill a hat and four free tickets to the game of his choice. Considering what he could have gotten for the ball on eBay, Sherill hooked the team up big time. I’d have to imagine Pujols will have some more goodies for him.

Photo: Twitter/Tim Mead