Albert Pujols throws glove at Erick Aybar during postgame handshakes (Video)

There was an unusual moment during the Angels’ postgame handshake lineup on Wednesday night. After beating the Twins 6-2, the Angels players lined up for handshakes and high-fives to celebrate the win. For some reason, Albert Pujols chucked his glove at teammate Erick Aybar. The move was strange and made Pujols look like a jerk, but SI injury expert Will Carroll points out that the elbow the slugger was grabbing is the same one he had surgery on in 2008 and 2009. Aybar must have touched or pushed him in a sensitive area and got that reaction. No harm, no foul, but it was certainly a funny video.

Forearm bash to Midwest Sports Fans

Angels play prank on Albert Pujols after first home run of the season (Video)

Two days after being serenaded by boos from Angels fans and a day after being held out of the lineup, Albert Pujols finally blasted his first hit out of the park as a member of the Angels. During the 5th inning of Sunday’s game with the Blue Jays, in his 111th AB of the year, Pujols bombed a two-run homer that gave the Angels a 4-1 advantage. And there to greet him in the dugout was … no one.

While Pujols rounded the bases, his teammates spilled into the clubhouse as a prank, leaving the Angels dugout completely empty by the time Pujols returned. Before long, everybody returned and congratulated the slugger. Pujols was all smiles about the joke. After all, he had just gotten the biggest (rally) monkey in his career off his back. Now back to trying to get to .500, Halos.

Albert Pujols booed by Angels fans after another hitless night

When Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels agreed to a $240 million contract a few months ago, I doubt either side envisioned zero home runs and a sub-.200 average for the slugger a full month into the season. On Friday night, the fans’ level of frustration officially reached its boiling point. After grounding out in the ninth inning to cap off an 0-for-4 night against the Blue Jays, Angels fans rained boos down on their new slugger.

“I know better than to get myself down,” Pujols said after the game according to the Orange County Register. “And my message to the fans is, they have a reason to boo. I’m not performing the way that I can, but just the same way I’m patient, they need to be patient and know that I’m gonna be here for 10 years. I don’t read the future, but I guarantee to you there’s gonna be more cheers than boos in those 10 years.

“This is just six weeks into the season. They have the right. They pay a lot of money to come and watch me play, and I’m not performing the way I know how to perform. But I also understand I can’t force it. I’m trying my best.”

Obviously, things are going to improve for Pujols at the plate. That being said, he’s right about the fans having every right to boo. The Angels are digging themselves into a pretty significant early-season hole, and Pujols is one of the main reasons for it. The longer his slump continues, the steeper the climb becomes for the Angels to reach the postseason. Is it time to panic? Absolutely not. But if you ask me Angels fans have waited long enough for the biggest investment in team history to start paying off.

Photo credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Albert Pujols is upset with hitting coach Mickey Hatcher for telling the media what he said in a meeting

At some point this season, Albert Pujols is going to turn it on. He has to. Through 23 games this season, Pujols has yet to hit his first home run as a member of the Angels and has only four RBIs. He is hitting .217 with an on-base percentage of .265. Albert is one of the reasons Los Angeles is off to an 8-15 start, and he will probably be one of the reasons they go on a tear at some point later in the season.

Pujols knows he isn’t coming close to living up to the $240 million contract he signed this past offseason, and he acknowledged that during a recent meeting with his teammates. According to Eye on Baseball, hitting coach Mickey Hatcher says Pujols stood up during a pregame meeting on Monday and assured the team that his slump will not continue. While it sound admirable, Albert is unhappy with Hatcher for telling all of us that he did that.

“Mickey should have never told you guys that,” Pujols said. “That stuff needs to be private. He should have never told the media. What we talked about at the meeting, not disrespecting Mickey, but that stuff should stay behind closed doors.”

Pujols is right in the sense that private meetings should be kept private, but Hatcher certainly wasn’t trying to make him look bad. In fact, he was doing the exact opposite. The media has been all over Pujols for his slow start — as they should be with the amount of money he’s being paid. Hatcher was trying to show the public how determined he is. Pujols’ reaction to Hatcher telling the media about it probably speaks more to his frustration level at the moment than anything.

Photo credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Angels would not confirm to C.J. Wilson that they were pursuing Albert Pujols

Signing a player to a $250 million contract is not something that just comes together overnight. Very few of us thought of Los Angeles as a potential landing spot for Albert Pujols this past offseason, but the Angels had to have been planning it all along. Considering we are living in an era where Twitter and other forms of social media prevent anyone from keeping a secret, the Angels did a tremendous job of keeping their intentions under wraps. In fact, they even kept C.J. Wilson in the dark about it when they were courting the left-hander.

“I personally found out about the Albert Pujols thing via twitter,” Wilson said during an interview with ESPN Los Angeles. “(Angels GM) Jerry Dipoto was sitting in my agent’s hotel suite and we were sitting their talking to him and he said look I don’t mean to be blunt, but if there is a paper that walks in here I am going to have to divert my attention to that because there is something else going on. I was like what the hell is this guy talking about right now? It is 3 in the morning. Either he has had too many beers or something. We were all kind of loopy at this point.

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Albert Pujols does not like the Angels ‘El Hombre’ billboards (Picture)

When he was with the Cardinals, Albert Pujols earned the nickname “El Hombre.” The problem is he never liked it. Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial was known as “The Man” throughout his career in St. Louis. Because of his level of respect for Musial, Pujols feels uncomfortable having the exact same nickname as the legend — even if his is the Spanish version of the phrase.

According to ESPNLosAngeles.com, Albert does not like the billboard campaign that has been launched in California, which you see an example of pictured above.

“Like I say, I haven’t talked to them, but I prefer not to use (El Hombre),” Pujols said Wednesday. “I still have the same respect for (Musial) as I had, not just for what he’s done in baseball but for what he did for his country. That’s something you have to appreciate.”

The Angels reportedly did not consult with Pujols and his agent before launching the campaign, or they likely would not have gone through with it. Angels vice president of communications Tim Mead says they have explained to Pujols that the billboards are only a portion of their campaign, but the team should have done a little research first and realized he was uncomfortable with the nickname in St. Louis. Not that I feel badly for a guy who just inked a deal worth $250 million.

Photo credit: @DowntheRFline

Albert Pujols’ name dropped from St. Louis restaurant, statue remains

Pujols 5 Westport Grill in St. Louis is a thing of the past. Sales at the restaurant named for Albert Pujols have slowed since the former Cardinals slugger signed with Anaheim, so the owner made a name change. The restaurant is now calling itself Hall of Fame Sports Bar and Grill.

They’re removing all Pujols-related items from the menu, though the Albert Pujols statue unveiled outside the restaurant in November will remain.

Pujols was never an owner of the restaurant, but he had a licensing agreement with them where he lent his name in exchange for 5% of restaurant profits being donated to his foundation. Pujols’ agent says since business has dropped, “it didn’t make sense” for the owner to continue his relationship with Pujols.

“Albert’s a good guy and a lot of people here still like him,” the restaurant’s owner says. “I think after some time has passed people will realize that what he did was the best for him and for the Cardinals.”

Nothing shows how much the fans have turned on a player quite like a restaurant changing its name. I bet Albert never thought it would come to this.