Thinking that a day of rest might help Albert Pujols both mentally and physically, Angels manager Mike Scioscia is giving the first baseman his first full off-day on Saturday against the Blue Jays. Pujols didn’t even take pregame batting practice and is not expected to be available for pinch-hitting duties.
This according to the Orange County Register.
“I’m just going to give him a little breather…” Scioscia explained. “Sometimes when you’re trying to find something and you’re pounding your head against the wall… if you take that half-step back and take that half-step to the right, there’s that huge door.”
Pujols went 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Friday night and is now batting just .194/.237/.269 on the year.
Mark Trumbo is starting at first base and Alberto Callaspo is playing third base on Saturday night.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.