Slugger Albert Pujols started his first Spring Training game of 2013 Tueday afternoon in Tempe.
He went 0 for 3, striking out once. He grounded out in his first plate appearance, his first time in a game in an Angels uniform since the end of last season.
On that weak, easily-fielded grounder, he did not run at anything close to regular speed.
Looking ahead 26 days to the start of the season, the Angels open on the road in an historic first-ever opening day interleague contest against he very same Cincinnati Reds that they played today. The National League's 19th century rules do not allow for a designated hitter and the chance that the $20 Million Man (Pujols) may play a hundred games at Designated Hitter is only offset by the notoriously mildly-injured Josh Hamilton (their $25 Million Man), who sat out Monday's game with a sore right quadricep. Hambone bested Albert with a 2 for 3 performance despite his blue eyes having to endure a day game.
Between these two aches and pains it appears that Mark Trumbo, adept at 1B and RF and so far adept at avoiding injuries in his career, will play in 162 games this season, perhaps none fewer of them at Designated Hitter than Pujols or Hamilton.