02/27/12 10:45 PM EST
Albert makes presence felt in first full workout
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
"He has an incredible routine," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "and part of it is a lot of things you see behind the scenes."
That routine suddenly became visible on Monday, when the Angels conducted their first full workout and all of the everyday players took live batting practice on the main field. Pujols hit with Group 2, along with Alberto Callaspo, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar.
Usually, at this point in the spring, it's the pitchers who are ahead of the hitters. But against lefty Brad Mills, a longtime Minor Leaguer acquired from the Blue Jays in exchange for catcher Jeff Mathis, Pujols was already on his game, spraying line drives all over the outfield.
"Unbelievable," said Torii Hunter, who took batting practice with the first group and was shagging balls in the outfield when Pujols was up. "His bat was explosive. He said he hadn't hit outside in a while, but he's hitting the ball like he's always been hitting it. It's amazing."
Pujols, who signed a $240 million contract in December, arrived at Spring Training last Monday and had mostly been hitting with recovering slugger Kendrys Morales -- either in one of the adjacent fields or in the batting cages.
Seven days later, he was finally able to get his first full Angels experience, with owner Arte Moreno and president John Carpino also watching.
"It was a good day," Pujols simply said later, in the rush of a bustling clubhouse that was getting ready for an annual presentation from the Players Association. "It was nice to get out there with everybody."
Pujols is enough to change the dynamic of an entire team -- not just because of his offense, but also because of his presence.
On Monday, the Angels finally got a chance to feel some of that.
"He changes the dynamic of a lineup, man," Hunter said. "Just him being in there is going to change everything."
Segura hopes insoles fix hamstring issues
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Doctors might have found the remedy for Jean Segura's nagging hamstring issues: insoles.
During a season in which the young, developing shortstop was limited to just 52 Minor League games because of a torn hamstring, doctors realized one of his legs is actually longer than the other, by mere millimeters. So now, Segura has a special insole on one of his cleats that will help balance it all out.
That could be all it takes to fix the problem.
"It should help," assistant general manager Scott Servais said. "That helps a lot of guys."
Segura, a 21-year-old who was initially a second baseman in the system, is the second-best prospect on the Angels -- behind only outfielder Mike Trout -- according to MLB.com. Signed out of the Dominican in 2007, Segura missed significant time in '09 because of a broken ankle and finger, then bounced back in low A ball in '10 -- batting .313 with 10 homers and 50 stolen bases in 130 games.
Last year, Segura hit .281 while playing in only 44 games for high A Inland Empire. Still, scouts say he matured as a hitter -- with more patience and a willingness to use the entire field -- and have been impressed with his arm strength.
If he can just stay healthy to get more games under his belt, many say, Segura can really move up the ranks.
Segura's hoping an offseason spent rehabbing with his uncle, an athletic trainer, and the simplicity of an insole will do the trick.
"I'm thinking it fixed it," Segura, who will probably spend the year at Double-A Arkansas, said in Spanish. "... I'm hoping it's all fixed. But I'll just keep working hard, doing what I have to do, and see what happens."
Bourjos will likely need offseason hip surgery
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos doesn't anticipate his bothersome hip injury affecting him in 2012, but did acknowledge on Monday that he'd probably have to undergo offseason surgery to "clean it out."
Bourjos has dealt with right-hip problems since he felt something pop in the area while making a throw during instructional league four or five years ago.
"Ever since then," Bourjos said, "it's been on and off."
Bourjos didn't have the surgery this offseason because he waited a little too long to get it looked at. The 24-year-old speedster was feeling good when last season winded down, probably because the anti-inflammatories were still in his system. But felt some soreness while playing golf in November.
An MRI then revealed a frayed labrum and a bone bruise in his hip. But since recovery time is usually 6-12 weeks, doctors figured they could wait until the following offseason to get it done.
"Obviously, surgery is never [anything] minor," Bourjos said. "But as long as everything goes the way it should, it shouldn't be too big of a deal."
Bourjos said that, right now, the hip is "probably no worse than it was last year," when he broke out with a .271 batting average, 12 homers and 22 stolen bases in his first full season.
'El Hombre' billboards likely to be phased out
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels owner Arte Moreno told The Jim Rome Show on Monday that the billboards depicting Albert Pujols as "El Hombre" are "probably not going to be part of the [marketing] campaign" moving forward.
The Angels previously put up 70 Pujols billboards in the Southern California metropolitan area, with 20 of them calling Pujols "El Hombre." Pujols, who spent his first 11 seasons in St. Louis, had previously said he preferred not to be called "El Hombre," out of respect for Hall of Famer and Cardinals legend Stan "The Man" Musial.
Moreno said he spoke to Pujols about the billboards.
"That was a short-term marketing campaign, and he said that it was fine," Moreno told Rome, "that we weren't trying to go against any traditional thing in St. Louis."
Moreno, who signed Pujols to a $240 million contract in December, said the current ad campaign will run through the first week of April. After that, there probably won't be any more "El Hombre" billboards.
"As you see, we really try to market the whole team. But he's new to our team, and he's a big-time player," Moreno said on the radio show. "But that's not the basis of our campaign."
Morales intensified his running program on Monday, making continuous cuts along the outfield grass before taking a full round of batting practice. The recovering switch-hitter got through the workout with no problems and anticipates doing it again on Tuesday.
Scioscia said Morales would probably continue with that for 10-14 days, then start running the bases.
"But once he runs the bases, and feels good and rebounds, he's ready for games," Scioscia added.
Mark Trumbo, who has been fielding ground balls and taking batting practice, will be in Los Angeles on Tuesday, getting his right foot re-imaged, in hopes of being cleared for full baseball activities.
Trumbo, who's recovering from a stress fracture, is waiting for the small crack in his foot to completely close up.
Scioscia was back in Angels camp on Monday, a day after missing his first Spring Training workout while feeling under the weather. The Angels' skipper looked fine and said he probably just got some food poisoning.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.