TEMPE, Ariz. -- The benefits of a healthy
Pujols, relegated to designated hitter for 65 of 99 games in an injury-shortened 2013 season, has started nine of 10 games at first base this spring and has already flashed some of the range, hands, reactions and skills that earned him
"I'm really excited and happy with how I'm playing at first base and how I'm moving," Pujols said. "If you look at my position now, how I'm able to bend down, that was something I wasn't able to do last year, or even toward the end of 2012. That's my low position."
Pujols has made diving stops to his left and right this spring, and he ranged far into foul territory Thursday to catch a popup against the
"I had to shorten up my range last year because I wanted to make sure I got to the base [on an infield grounder]," he said. "But now I can be aggressive. I feel good, man. I can't complain about how everything is going."
Pujols, who did not travel to Peoria, Ariz., for Friday’s exhibition game against the
"Remember, I missed 300 at-bats last year -- I've never gone this long without seeing live pitching," said Pujols, who sat out the final two months of 2013. "It seems like my first week, I was a little bit uncomfortable, but I started seeing the ball better, having better at-bats, seeing pitches."
"I'm a first baseman, not a DH," Pujols said. "If I'm healthy, I'm going to be playing first base. I'll probably DH once or twice here and there, but for the most part, I'm expecting myself to play first base."