Albert Pujols yells at Grant Balfour after 2-run single (Video)

Albert Pujols had words for Oakland A’s relief pitcher Grant Balfour after hitting a 2-run single off of him in the ninth inning of Oakland’s 6-4 win over the Angels at O.co Coliseum on Friday night.

Albert Pujols Grant BalfourBalfour threw up and in on Pujols earlier in the at-bat, which angered the Angels DH. Balfour tried going in on Pujols again on the 2-2 pitch, but Pujols lined the ball down the left field line. As Pujols was going up the first base line, he barked at Balfour.

It’s hard to tell what Pujols said, but it looks like he yelled “pitch” or a not-so-nice word that rhymes with pitch. One thing that is for sure is it’s not often you see Pujols that heated.

Another note about the hit — Pujols only got a single even though most would have taken two on the play. Pujols is still playing through plantar fasciitis and can hardly run. He was replaced by a pinch runner after reaching first. Balfour then struck out Josh Hamilton to end the game.

Mike Scioscia: Albert Pujols is only playing at 70 percent

Albert PujolsAlbert Pujols has been hitting the ball well for the Angels this season, which is even more impressive given his health limitations.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Sunday that Pujols, 33, is playing at only 70 percent health.

“You know, Albert’s going to give you what he has,” Scioscia said, via MLB.com. “If he has 70 percent, he’s going to give you 70 percent. That’s where he is right now, whatever percentage you want to put on it. Obviously, he’s not 100 percent.”

Pujols has played seven games at first base this season and served as the designated hitter for the others. He was moved from first to DH prior to Sunday’s game to take the pressure off his foot, per MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom.

It’s pretty clear watching Pujols that he is not even close to full strength. He struggles to move and does not completely run out ground balls. Still, he has managed to bat .293 through 12 games. Half of his 12 hits have been for extra bases — he has four doubles and two home runs, and he has walked 11 times.

Pujols underwent knee surgery over the offseason and is also being bothered by plantar fasciitis in his foot. One has to wonder how long he will be able to keep this up. The way he is going, I cannot imagine him making it through the season without a stint on the disabled list.

Photo credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Albert Pujols plans to walk away from his contract when he can’t produce?

Albert PujolsAlbert Pujols signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels before last season and will still be owed $212 million by the team after the year. Though Pujols has started off the season well, he is 33 and possibly beyond his prime.

The Angels first baseman/DH seemed to indicate Saturday that he might walk away from his contract if he can no longer produce during the course of the deal.

“God has given me ability and talent, but the day I feel like I can’t compete any more on this level, I’m not going to embarrass myself,” Pujols said Saturday, via the Los Angeles Times. “I’m going to walk off. Whether that’s next year, two years from now, only God knows.”

Pujols had hit two home runs and was walked three times that day, so he made his comments in the context of aiming to prove people that he is still a force. Though we’re only a week into the season, Pujols is showing that he can still crush the ball. Last season it took him until May 6 to hit his first home run. He hit two in the team’s fifth game this season.

Would Pujols actually walk away from his contract if he’s no longer productive late in his career? It’s hard for me to believe that. He would have to be of supreme moral character to do that. Keep in mind that his deal is structured to escalate as he gets older. Next season he will earn $23 million, and the amount increased by $1 million every year thereafter. He would top out earning $30 million in 2021.

We saw Gil Meche retire from baseball after the 2010 season despite having $12 million remaining on his contract. That sort of move is rare, and we don’t even know what the MLBPA would say. You have to figure they can’t be happy with Pujols’ comment to begin with, but if he did retire when he can’t produce, that would be a huge break for the Angels.

Photo credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Cardinals fan has hilarious signs taunting Albert Pujols (Pictures)

The Cardinals lost one of the greatest hitters in their franchise’s history last winter, yet they still find themselves two wins away from returning to the World Series to defend their title. Albert Pujols is now an Angel, and the Angels are now mere spectators as four teams fight for a championship. Of course, that means St. Louis fans have to capitalize on the opportunity to harass the man who skipped town to fatten his wallet.

As you can see from the photo above that Big League Stew passed along, a fan stood behind the dugout before Game 3 of the NLCS in St. Louis and held a fantastically original sign to rip on Pujols. He also went with a slightly less original joke on the other side:

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Albert Pujols goes nuts after White Sox fan takes foul ball away from him (Video)

Albert Pujols is generally a calm and respectful man, but his anger will show if you mess with his play on the field like one fan did on Saturday night.

During the bottom of the first inning of the Angels-White Sox game, A.J. Pierzynski popped a foul ball down the first base line. Pujols tracked it and reached into the stands to make the catch, but a White Sox fan also went for the ball and knocked it away from Albert. Pujols was ticked off that the ball was taken away from him and went berserk.

The fan, who was probably going for the ball as a natural reaction, seemed to enjoy helping his team by knocking the ball away. The other fans certainly liked it — they gave him an ovation afterward.

The umpires made the right decision not to do anything since fans are allowed to make plays on balls in the stands. Luckily for the Angels the play didn’t mean anything; Pierzynski popped out on the next pitch.

Albert Pujols has been crushing the ball since Mickey Hatcher was fired

Albert Pujols is quietly coming on for the Angels after putting together one of the worst starts to the season in MLB. The All-Star slugger has at least a hit in 13 of his last 14 games, and his numbers have noticeably improved since the team fired Mickey Hatcher as hitting coach on May 15. The stats show a significant difference.

With Hatcher as coach (37 games/146 at-bats):

    .212 avg, 1 HR, 14 RBIs, .288 slugging, .536 OPS, 6 BB/18 K

Without Hatcher as coach (10 games/39 at-bats):

    .282 avg, 5 HRs, 11 RBIs, .692 slugging, .821 OPS, 5 BB/5 K

The media and fans often make batting coaches out to be poor, scapegoated souls when they get fired because a team slumps, but the truth is sometimes all players need is change in order to turn things around. This move certainly hasn’t hurt Pujols.

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

David Ortiz on slumping Albert Pujols: He’s a bad motherf***er

Albert Pujols has managed to end his home run drought in Los Angeles, but the numbers are still far from cutting it. A quarter of the way through the season, the $240 million man is still hitting .214 with an on-base percentage of only .248. He has driven in only 18 runs and has three homers, but Pujols is finally showing signs of life at the plate. As someone who knows plenty about starting the year off in a horrible slump, David Ortiz says he is not worried about Albert turning it around — and we shouldn’t be either.

“Albert Pujols? Let me tell you something about Albert Pujols,” Ortiz said according to ESPNBoston.com. “Albert Pujols is a bad mother f—er. The baseball world needs Albert Pujols.

“I spent two months with one home run, and I got exhausted mentally and physically. But it was more mental because it was too much of me trying different things and trying to figure out why I wasn’t hitting homers.”

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