He won’t say what, but Albert Pujols insists he found something in his swing three weeks ago, upon the Angels’ return from a 10-game trip.
He was hitting .132 then, mired in a massive, 0-for-26 slump that led him to a video session, where he says he recognized the issue that must not be named. Since then, the 36-year-old slugger had hit .271 with six home runs and more walks than strikeouts entering Sunday’s game. He ripped a game-winning three-run home run Saturday, arguably his biggest hit in five seasons as an Angel.
“The best thing is that I’m taking my walks and I’m not striking out,” Pujols said. “When I strike out and I’m not taking walks, then there’s something to look for. But if I’m hitting the ball hard . . .”
“You have to stay positive, man,” he said.
Pujols chuckled in recalling the go-ahead home run in the ninth inning. He had wanted mostly to elevate the ball, to ensure he would not hit into his eighth double play of the season.
“I hit those quite a bit,” he said.
Pujols said he is happy with his hitting, despite his .197 average. He just wants to keep his front leg down more often. Occasionally, it’ll lift itself as he tracks a pitch.
“I don’t try to do it,” he said. “It just comes naturally to me. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it makes me a little jumpy.”
Left-hander C.J. Wilson will throw a three-inning simulated game Monday at Dodger Stadium, another step on his road to a potential mid-June return. . . .
Left-hander Tyler Skaggs is scheduled to undergo a strength test Monday at the Angels’ Arizona facility. If he passes, Manager Mike Scioscia said, he will resume throwing this week. He has not pitched since April 20 while working his way back from Tommy John surgery. . . .
Former All-Star pitcher and big league pitching coach Sammy Ellis died Friday. He pitched for the then-California Angels in 1968.