Albert Pujols is ahead of schedule, on track for Opening Day

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Albert Pujols was initially given a 4-5 month recovery timetable following November foot surgery, which seemingly made Opening Day a long shot, but the Angels first baseman is feeling good enough that starting the season on the active roster is now a very real possibility.

Pujols has yet to run at full speed, but Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that he’s “been unrestricted in batting practice and during defensive work.” He may start the season at designated hitter rather than first base, which is a change Pujols previously said he was willing to make in order to get back into the lineup sooner.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia has indicated that he plans to play things very safe with Pujols, but unless there’s a setback of some kind during the next 3-4 weeks there would be no reason to place him on the disabled list.