Albert Pujols is returning to St. Louis after agreeing to a one-year deal with the Cardinals, according to published reports.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which first reported the agreement late Sunday, said the contract with the 42-year-old slugger – who is 21 home runs shy of 700 for his career – was pending a physical.
The deal brings Pujols back to where he began his major league career, becoming one of the game’s most powerful and dangerous all-around hitters. The NL Rookie of the Year in 2001 spent his first 11 years in St. Louis, helping the Cardinals win the World Series in 2006 and 2011. He hit at least .300 with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first 10 seasons in St. Louis.
A wildly popular player in St. Louis, Pujols played his last game for the Cardinals on Oct. 28, 2011, a Game 7 win over Texas in the World Series.
Pujols was selected the NL MVP three times and made nine All-Star teams with the Cardinals before signing a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels in 2012. He was waived by the Angels last May and signed with the Dodgers, for whom he hit 12 homers and drove in 38 runs in 85 games.
Back with the Cardinals, Pujols could help serve as the team’s designated hitter with the National League now adopting the rule that had long been in place in the American League.