It’s not often you see a player still playing in the major leagues entering their age-40 season. Well, Albert Pujols isn’t a player that comes around too often.
When he’s eligible in the near future, Pujols will likely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He’s one of the best first baseman in recent memory, along with one of the best hitters of this generation. 2020 will be the 20th season of his big-league career, but don’t tell him that, because for him, he’s right in the middle of his prime.
“You say, ‘Yeah, 40 years old. Yeah, I’m getting towards the end of my career,’” Pujols said to reporters on Saturday. “But I still feel like I’m 25. I train so hard. I’ve been healthy … Knock on wood.”
Pujols is coming off a season in which he hit 23 homers and drove in 93 runs. Not bad for a 39-year-old who missed 30 games. Sure, his average and on-base percentage aren’t close to what they used to be, but I don’t think the Angels need him to be the Pujols of old. If he can remain healthy in 2020, they’ll be more than okay with that.
“I wouldn’t be getting myself up and talking to you guys and going to the field,” Pujols said. “That’s the reality. I love the game of baseball.”
Pujols still has two years remaining on the mega-contract he signed years back. He’s unsure as to whether or not that’ll be it for him when the contract is up, or if he wants to continue playing. It’s all going to come down to how much he still loves the game.
“Close friends of mine and my wife know that if I wake up one day and I don’t feel that desire, that hunger or that passion for the game, that would be my last game. It could be tomorrow. It could be today. It’s not yourself that retires the game. When you cannot compete anymore, that’s when you need to walk out. When you don’t have that hunger and that joy and that passion coming to the ballpark and hanging out with your teammates, that’s when you walk away.”
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Shohei Ohtani said his stiff back has been “feeling better by the day.” Didn’t feel symptoms today, so he threw his scheduled bullpen and took a couple of at-bats in the intrasquad game today after he felt good coming out of his ‘pen.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) July 11, 2020