Could 2020 be Albert Pujols’ final season? …

Albert Pujols has a 9-year-old daughter, Sophia, who’s really passionate about gymnastics and really good at it. On Saturday, Pujols and his wife, Deidre, saw her win first place at a big meet in St. Louis.

“It brought tears to our eyes,” Pujols said Sunday afternoon, minutes after joining his Angels teammates in Spring Training.

Sophia is gunning for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Tokyo. That prompted a reporter to say he could still be in the Major Leagues while his daughter is in the Olympics.

“And that might be the year I have to retire,” Pujols said. “You can put that in the paper, because I don’t want to miss it.”

Sophia, born in November 2005, would only be 14 by the time the 2020 Olympics start, and right now you must be at least 16 to enter. But Pujols said she’s targeting 2020 nonetheless.

“Who knows,” he said. “They’re always changing the rules.”

Pujols’ 10-year, $240 million contract runs through 2021, so if he holds true to that, he’d be leaving his contract with two years left on it, just before his age-40 season. Don’t take this as something written in stone, though. Pujols was being playful, and later joked, “Maybe I’ll just have them put me on the DL for a couple weeks.”

But the superstar first baseman has hinted in the past about the possibility that he doesn’t play out the entire contract, and instead just works something out with the Angels. He wants to go out on his terms, and has too much pride to hold on when he can’t be productive.

Right now, though, he really loves seeing his daughter compete.

Watching her in November was part of the reason he opted out of participating in the Japan Series.

“We were so happy for her,” Pujols said. “It was almost a sign. We want to support her and want to continue for her to have that success.”

Alden

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