Albert Pujols joins the Angels’ lineup ahead of schedule

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As of last week Albert Pujols was telling reporters that he didn’t plan to see any game action until mid-March as he comes back from knee surgery, but the Angels’ lineup has Pujols at designated hitter today.

So why the sudden change of plans?

You guys needed something to write, so I gave you something for you guys to write. Obviously, it’s great to be in the lineup. I want to try to get some at-bats and get ready for the season.

Pujols did tell Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that he’s not at 100 percent yet, but feels fine running because it doesn’t matter if he’s at less than 100 percent on the bases in a spring training game.

Eric Thames exits game with right knee soreness

Eric Thames
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Brewers outfielder Eric Thames made an early exit from Friday’s game against the Cardinals after colliding with Lorenzo Cain on an outfield catch in the first inning. According to an official report, he has been diagnosed with right knee soreness and is presumably day-to-day for the time being.

It was a brutal collision knocked both outfielders flat on their backs, but they were able to resume their positions and stick it out for the rest of the inning. Thames was up in the second, too, and struck out on five pitches from St. Louis right-hander Jack Flaherty before making an eventual exit in the top of the third. He was replaced on the field and in the lineup by Hernan Perez.

Entering Friday’s contest, the 31-year-old Thames carried a .230/.308/.516 batting line, 16 home runs and an .824 OPS in his second full season with the Brewers. He hasn’t replicated the career-high .247-average, 31-homer, 2.1-fWAR totals of his breakout performance in 2017, though that’s likely due to a combination of decreased playing time and lengthy recovery periods mandated by several significant injuries, including a torn UCL in his left thumb and a right hamstring strain. There’s no word yet on when he might return to the lineup this season.