Jumping to a new league and facing unfamiliar pitchers might unnerve some players. Not Pujols. He intends to dig into the batter's box the same as always, square up a fastball the way he has for years and pad statistics that are likely to grace his plaque in Cooperstown.
"The game doesn't change," he said. "When I got into the big leagues in 2001, I didn't know anybody, so that's how I'm going to take it. It's a different league, but in 2001 I didn't know any pitchers around the league. It's going to be a little different, but when it comes to playing the game, nothing has changed except that we have a DH in the American League."
Pujols has joined a new team, new league and new city, but he will always have fond memories of his years with the Cardinals.
"You know what, I had a great time in St. Louis," he said. "Obviously, 11 years, you don't just flip the page and move on. There were some great moments. I was able to accomplish two World Series and that experience is something I want to bring to this city, to Anaheim, to this ballclub and have hopefully better seasons than I had in St. Louis and hopefully more championships."
Pujols said he's fine physically and dismissed the idea that a wrist injury that nagged him early last season lingers.
"Just look at my numbers after the wrist injury," he said. "It doesn't bother me at all."
And neither does his decision to leave St. Louis, right after the Cardinals won the championship.
There was a point where it looked as if Pujols might stay with the Cardinals, and be that rare player in the era of free agency to spend his entire career with one team. However, the second-largest contract in baseball history along with the chance to prolong his career as a DH and an additional 10-year personal services contract with the Angels was too much to resist.
It was time for him to go.
Pujols is pushing on.
"I can't go back and feel sorry," he said. "It's time to move forward. It's like another chapter in my life and it's time to open a new one. I don't' want to go look over my shoulder and regret the decisions I made. It was the best for me and my family "
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