Pujols 0 for 3 in spring training debut for Angels

JIM RICHARDS Associated Press Published:

ANGELS 6, REDS 4

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Depending on one's point of view, Albert Pujols started his exhibition season 10 days late or 10 days early.

Recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee, the three-time MVP went 0 for 3 in his first spring training appearance of 2013 as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Cincinnati Reds, 6-4.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia had not expected Pujols to play for another week-and-a-half.

"I need to get my at-bats," Pujols said. "It doesn't matter how much you hit in the cage. You need to see live pitching."

Pujols, batting third as the designated hitter, had a broken-bat grounder to third in the first against Mike Leake, struck out swinging in the fourth versus Aroldis Chapman and grounded to shortstop in the sixth against Wilkin De La Rosa.

"The main goal is to come out of here healthy and to be ready for the season," Pujols said.

Pujols started slowly in his first season after leaving St. Louis for a $240 million, 10-year deal with the Angels, then wound up hitting 30 homers with 105 RBIs.

"He wanted to see some velocity and he got to see some," Scioscia said. "Some of those guys had some high octane."

In addition to Pujols, the Angels used their projected starting outfield for the first time: Mike Trout in left, Peter Bourjos in center and Josh Hamilton in right field. They combined to go 4 for 8.

"It's fun to see those guys," Scioscia said.

Jay Bruce hit a pair of solo homers for the Reds, off Tommy Hanson in the second and Scott Downs in the fourth.

"It was nice to see Jay swing the bat well," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It's his best game so far. He hit one out to center. You know when he does that he's staying on the ball and not pulling off."

Hanson, 13-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 2012 with Atlanta, made his first spring training start for the Angels and allowed one run and three hits in two innings.

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