Albert Pujols poised for bounce-back year

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MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols will be ready for Opening Day after having off-season surgery on his right knee. The word “certain” appears in the headline, referring to the probability of Pujols appearing in the Opening Day lineup. Pujols should see some spring training action by the middle of the month if all goes according to plan.

Pujols hit 30 home runs with a .285 average, .343 on-base percentage, and .516 slugging percentage — all career lows for the veteran, entering his 13th year. However, it was mostly just his April that dragged him down. During the first month, he didn’t hit a single homer and posted a .570 OPS. He hit his first homer of the season on May 6, and from that point until the end of the season, he posted a .934 OPS, a number more in line with our expectations.

Some have soured on Pujols, citing his age (33) and vanishing unintentional walk rate, which fell to five percent last year after hovering between nine and 11 percent through 2010. Given what he did after April last year, though, there is no doubt he can continue being one of the best hitters in baseball.

Orioles claim Jace Peterson off waivers from the Yankees

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The Baltimore Orioles have claimed utilityman Jace Peterson off waivers from the Yankees.

Peterson has played in three games this season and has been DFA’d twice. He had no place to play in New York but perhaps the O’s can use his versatility. While mostly a second baseman in his career he’s appeared at every position except pitcher and catcher at some point along the way, and that’s useful. More useful for a team that isn’t going anyplace like Baltimore, I presume. Saves ’em on gas money from Norfolk when someone gets an owie.

To make room for Peterson the O’s moved Gabriel Ynoa, who is suffering from shoulder inflammation, from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. Ynoa has yet to appear in a game this season.