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Joe Maddon on Albert Pujols’ departure: ‘Divorce is difficult’

Angels manager discussed the future Hall of Famer getting designated for assignment last week

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Los Angeles Angels Spring Training Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon talked about the messy departure of Albert Pujols from the team last week, when the 21-year future Hall of Famer was designated for assignment.

Maddon was a guest on the Starkville podcast at The Athletic, telling Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville, “Divorce is difficult.”

Maddon talked in depth about the process, which Stark summarized at The Athletic:

“It’s one of those situations where it could have been done differently had it happened in spring training, or even last offseason,” Maddon said. “There’s different ways to go about it. And had Albert decided that he did not want to play this year, then you could have possibly avoided this completely.

“But the fact that he … wanted to play first base, then you have to make an organizational decision. And it’s difficult. It is absolutely difficult when you are faced with having to make a decision of this magnitude.”

With Pujols now off the team, the hot-hitting Jared Walsh moved from right field to first base, starting the last seven games there. That opened up right field for Taylor Ward, who has started seven in a row at the position.

Links & news

This is from Monday, but Jeff Fletcher at the Orange County Register talked to Ward about his increased playing time after Albert Pujols was designated for assignment last week, with Ward saying, “I’m going to try to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

Shohei Ohtani, who pitched Tuesday for the Angels, has apparently developed two different cutters, writes Owen McGrattan at FanGraphs.

Also from Monday, Mike Trout is one of MLB’s outliers with an absurdly high batting average of balls in play, writes Dan Szymborski at FanGraphs.

With longtime Angels executive Tim Mead stepping down as president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame this week, his predecessor Jeff Idleson takes over his old position on an interim basis beginning Saturday. Idelson served as president in Cooperstown for 11 years before Mead assumed the role in 2019.