Angels’ Albert Pujols feels ‘decent’ after a restful All-Star break.

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols said he doesn’t feel any improvement in his right knee or foot since before the All-Star break. (Associated Press photo)

Albert Pujols didn’t want the All-Star break to end.

Not because his knee was in pain, not because his plantar fasciitis has been acting up. His son, A.J., has a big game.

“I wish I could be with my son in Cooperstown,” Pujols said Friday. “He’s in a tournament. He told me he’s going to be in Cooperstown before me.”
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VIDEO: Pujols on facing the Cardinals for the first time, decision to leave

It may not be too soon to say the St. Louis Cardinals emerged on the better end of the Albert Pujols 2011 sweepstakes.

The 33-year-old slugger has more than eight years of his $240 million contract remaining to provide production, but on Tuesday Pujols faced his former team for the first time sporting a losing record and zero playoff appearances in anything other than a Cardinals uniform.

St. Louis, meanwhile, is only gaining respect precisely because of what it achieving without players like Pujols. The Cardinals entered Tuesday 17 games above .500.

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Angels shift toward a leadoff platoon. Josh Hamilton seems to be the culprit.

Mike Trout has said he enjoys hitting leadoff. It’s what he has done for most of his baseball life and what he did Monday and Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners. But he was batting second again for the Angels on Thursday night.

Peter Bourjos, the leadoff hitter Wednesday, wasn’t batting first either.

Erick Aybar was the first man up Thursday after a 13-game absence from the top of the order, and manager Mike Scioscia said that the top of the order could be a rotating affair beyond tonight.
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