Pujols: I never told Angels I wanted to play every day
One of the reasons cited for the end of Albert Pujols' decade-long relationship with the Los Angeles Angels was his desire for more playing time. However, the veteran first baseman disputed that notion after officially signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.
"Let me tell you something - my goal over the last two years, it was never to try to be an everyday first baseman," Pujols said during his introductory press conference, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. "I told you guys in spring training, whatever role they have for me, I'm going to try to go with. They made that decision as an organization, a business decision.
"And, no hard feelings. They had a talk with me and that was it."
Pujols continued: "There's a lot of things out there saying, 'He wanted more playing time. He wanted to play every day.' That never came out of my mouth. You guys ask me that question over and over so many times and I always say, 'However the team wants to use me.'"
Pujols' production has declined recently, as he's batted .198/.250/.372 with five home runs in 24 games this season. Meanwhile, Jared Walsh and Shohei Ohtani have emerged for the Angels at first base and designated hitter, respectively.
However, Pujols is hitting .259 with a .878 OPS against left-handers during 2021. The Dodgers are batting .217 overall with a .659 OPS versus southpaws this campaign.
It remains to be seen how Los Angeles will deploy the future Hall of Famer, and Pujols wasn't willing to spill the beans.
"That's between us," he said, according to Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, referring to himself, manager Dave Roberts, and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.