Jim Thome

Angels slugger Albert Pujols joins the 600-homer club with a grand slam

Angels slugger Albert Pujols joins the 600-homer club with a grand slam

Albert Pujols dug his right foot into the dirt, then his left, and nestled his deteriorating body into his famous stance. He crouched, he glared, he wiggled his bat, and he waited.

When a slider approached him, he gently cocked back his hands and ripped them through the strike zone, sending the commemorative baseball soaring toward the left-field foul pole at Angel Stadium. When Pujols debuted in the major leagues, the speed of those hands represented a revelation, an alarm sounding to all pitchers: Do not make a mistake to that kid.

Sixteen years later, at age 37, he is no longer the indefatigable force he once was. In six tries, he has never started a season well as an...

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