Pujols could debut at first base on Tuesday …

Albert Pujols expects to make his first start at first base on Tuesday, which comes after an off day and will see the Angels play the Brewers in Maryvale, Ariz.

The Angels won’t utilize the designated hitter that day, playing under National League rules so their starting pitcher (Jason Vargas) can hit for the first time this spring. Playing first base would be Pujols’ only chance to get in the lineup, and the Angels slugger said on Sunday morning that his surgically repaired right knee feels good enough to allow him to do that in a game.

Pujols has been taking part in defensive drills for a while now, methodically increasing the intensity while continuing to run the bases in workouts. Over his last three starts, Pujols —  batting .353 (6-for-17) with a couple of homers and four RBIs in six Cactus League games — hasn’t needed a “courtesy runner” while starting at first base. Tuesday is 13 days before the April 1 opener in Cincinnati — under NL rules, of course.

Pujols is making his seventh start at DH on Sunday against the Padres and may come by the Angels facility on Monday to work out. And though Tuesday’s return to first base isn’t set in stone, he feels good about those prospects right now.



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