Retired Pujols believes shifting into teaching `will occur’
Albert Pujols is open to switching to coaching. Ultimately. Just not yet.
The retired hitter arrived at St. Louis Cardinals spring training camp Thursday to visit former teammates, and while he believes he will take on coaching or another role in Major League Baseball, he doesn’t want to give a timeline.
“Listen, 23 years and 24 years, it’s difficult to follow a February-October schedule,” said Pujols, who retired in October after 22 years split primarily between the Cardinals and the Los Angeles Angels went. “Now I have the freedom to have my own schedule. I am grateful for that.”
Pujols spent a week as a special assistant with the Angels in Arizona shortly after camp opened, but the dalliance was just that. He’s embracing retirement after a career that ended in 703 homers, fourth on the career list.
The almost certain future Hall of Famer probably wouldn’t have to bother trying too hard for work when the time comes. He’s in no hurry though. There is too much golf to be able to visit many members of his family. He even made an appearance in the NBA Celebrity Game last month as part of the league’s All-Star Weekend.
Pujols stressed that he would not “put a stamp” on when the time was right to return to the game in a larger capacity.
“If it happens next year, it’s great,” he said. “Knowing myself I think I’ll let that moment come and I’ll revisit it if it’s something I think works, I definitely will.”
Phildelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper thinks he could be ready once the All-Star break begins as he recovers from off-season Tommy John surgery.
The two-time National League MVP said Thursday the team has committed mid-July as a potential target date for Harper’s return.
Harper spent most of last season as Philadelphia’s designated hitter after initially injuring his right elbow in April. He underwent surgery in November shortly after helping the Phillies to the World Series for the first time since 2009.
Harper, 30, intends to serve as the designated hitter whenever he’s back in the lineup. Returning to right field can take significantly longer.
“Obviously I want to play outfield,” Harper said. “I want to get back out there and be in the right field in front of the fans, do my stuff and hear it from all the teams (fans) in the league too.”
RETURN FOR ROUND
The New York Yankees will have to wait a little longer to see their investment in Carlos Rodón pay off.
General manager Brian Cashman said the veteran left-handed pitcher will start the season on the injury list due to a left forearm strain. Rodón will not throw for 7-10 days, killing any chance that he will be ready on opening day.
The Yankees signed Rodón to a six-year, $162 million deal during the offseason after Rodón put together back-to-back All-Star seasons, first with the Chicago White Sox in 2021 and then with the San Francisco Giants this past summer.
HILL IMPRESSIVE LIKE 43 WEBSTUBS
There appears to be plenty of life left in Rich Hill’s left arm on the eve of his 43rd birthday.
The 17-year veteran allowed Pittsburgh a run and two hits in a 10-7 loss to Detroit on Thursday. Hill, who turns 43 on Saturday, mixed speeds and arm angles to throw the Tigers off balance.
Hill’s fastball reached a top speed of 89 mph. His series of breaking balls dipped to 68 mph. In the second, he caught Detroit’s Justyn-Henry Malloy on three pitches and then fanned out Kerry Carpenter on a slider that clocked just 68.8 mph on the radar gun.
The Pirates signed Hill for $8 million. One-year deal with hopes he’ll provide for a side riddled with young players, particularly in the starting rotation, both on the mound and in the clubhouse.
SOTO ON THE RETURN
Phillies reliever Gregory Soto threw 24 pitches over an inning during a simulated game the day after he reported for spring practice. Soto’s arrival from the Dominican Republic was delayed due to visa issues.
The two-time All-Star was acquired from the Detroit Tigers in a five-player deal in January.
“I knew I was coming to a new team and I wanted to familiarize myself with the new staff and new teammates,” Soto said through an interpreter. “So the longer I was in the DR, the less time I had here.”
Soto has been able to train at the Phillies Academy in the Dominican Republic, which is about an hour from his home.
The visa delay prevented Soto from playing this month’s World Baseball Classic.
“Right now it hurts a bit,” Soto said. “But I know that’s my priority.”
BOONE GOES YARD
Aaron Boone still got it.
The New York Yankees skipper celebrated his 50th birthday by doing some batting practice, a round that included a shot over the left field fence at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Boone, who hit 126 home runs during a 12-year major league career and ended the 2003 AL Championship Series with a walk-off home run against Boston’s Tim Wakefield in the 11th inning in Game 7, dropped his bat after the Ball had left his bat Batter Giancarlo Stanton roared his approval just outside the batting cage.
FOLLOW THE Bouncing BALL
Baltimore Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has put an emphasis on team bonding, and one of the activities ended with pitcher Dean Kremer’s victory at the clubhouse table tennis tournament.
“We have a few things,” Hyde said. “We’re hosting a darts tournament. We’ll have some basketball stuff during March Madness. See who has the best jumper on the team. It’s the same every day (at Spring Training). Just try to keep it light.”
Kremer defeated first baseman Ryan O’Hearn in a best-of-three matchup. Kremer departed Thursday to join Team Israel in Miami, Fla. for the World Baseball Classic.
Hyde jokingly said the ping-pong tournament was the reason Kremer didn’t report to Team Israel.
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