05/12/12 7:00 PM ET
Pujols recalls three-homer game in Series
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
Back in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series, Pujols was on top of the world here, hitting three home runs, notching five hits and amassing more total bases (14) than any man in World Series history en route to a thrilling championship run with the Cardinals.
From that night, Pujols still has the uniform, the bat, the helmet and, somewhere in his mind, the memories.
"You feel like Josh [Hamilton] did the other day, where anything you could throw him, the guy was going to hit it out of the park," Pujols said Friday, citing the Tuesday-night game that saw the Rangers' outfielder homer four times against the Orioles. "You have those nights. I'm still waiting this year to get one of those nights."
Pujols chuckled a bit when saying that. But very little is funny about his mystifying slump, which has now carried over into week five of his time with the Angels.
After four meek at-bats in a 10-3 loss to the Rangers on Friday night, Pujols -- serving as the designated hitter for the second time this season on Saturday -- finds himself batting .192 with a homer and 11 RBIs through 32 games. Entering Saturday, He has one multihit game since April 19, hasn't drawn a walk in his last 14 contests and has the second-lowest OPS in the Majors among those with at least 130 plate appearances.
"Every time he feels like he's inching closer and feeling more comfortable," manager Mike Scioscia said, "he's taking a half-step back."
Pujols' motto, cliché as it might sound: Never get too high or too low.
The minute after he joined two other players in World Series history last October (Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson), he swears, all he immediately thought of was the next game.
"Right away, man," he said. "And I'm not lying to you. I went to the hotel, I grabbed a late dinner because I had my wife and son here, I went to bed late, and I remember Reggie left me a message and everything. I didn't even get his message until the next day. It wasn't until after the Series was over that I was like, 'Wow, that was pretty cool.'"
That's his approach now -- don't dwell on the past, just keep moving forward.
Somewhere down the road, he believes, the slump will rid itself.
"When you're high, they want to praise you and they want to tell you you're the best," Pujols said. "When you struggle, you all of a sudden [stink]. So how can you go from being one of the best to [stinking]? That doesn't have any explanation. That's why I don't like to get too caught up in that.
"It's almost like you know who your real friends are when you go through some tough times. That's how I look at it."
Wilson to collect AL championship ring
ARLINGTON -- Angels starter C.J. Wilson will get his American League championship ring from the Rangers on Sunday, but none of the usual pomp and circumstance will come with it. He'll simply walk over to manager Ron Washington's office and pick it up.
Why no on-field ceremony? That's a silly question.
"Yeah, I'm sure that'd go over really well," Wilson said, tongue firmly placed in cheek. "I mean, yeah, [the fans are] really, like, so positive. I think that's why it rained yesterday. ... Yeah, that's probably why it rained, just because of all that negativity."
Wilson was expected to get booed in his return to Texas; he probably wasn't expected to get heckled as viciously as he did.
Wilson called the crowd reaction "colorful insights."
"You guys should stick a microphone out there and listen to it," he said. "It'd be very interesting. And you should make a transcript of that. ... It's just weird, you know. It's just weird. You do everything you can to de-personalize it. You're not going to go out there and pitch with headphones on. You hear it. But you just tune it out."
Wilson was greeted with hecklers as soon as he began warming up in the left-center-field bullpen for Friday night's start. The game then featured chants of Booooo! for Wilson and Yuuuuu! for his opponent and replacement, Yu Darvish.
When Mitch Moreland homered in the seventh, long after a rain delay had halted Wilson's start after just five batters, Rangers fans began chanting, We want C.J.! We want C.J.! And when Wilson took the mound for his Saturday start -- eventually hurling 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball in a 4-2 win by his club -- the boos were still there.
"I'm about being positive, and I'm just moving forward," Wilson said. "That chapter of my life is closed, and I'm happy for everything I experienced over there, and all the players and stuff. I respect them all."
Trout, Bourjos in Angels' lineup together
ARLINGTON -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia went with yet another different look for the Saturday afternoon game against the Rangers -- a quick turnaround after a Friday night contest that included a two-hour rain delay.
Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos, who had started only two of the previous 12 games, were in the same outfield for only the second time since Trout's April 28 callup, with left fielder Vernon Wells getting the day off.
Albert Pujols, batting .192 after an 0-for-4 night, was at designated hitter for the second time this season. Mark Trumbo took his place at first base.
"It wasn't planned," Scioscia said of making Pujols the DH, "but I think coming into today, the guys we were going to play, it worked out where we could get him a DH day, let him just take a little day off from being out there on the field."
Everyday DH Kendrys Morales was unavailable for a second straight game due to a sore left Achilles tendon -- though he probably wouldn't have started against lefty Matt Harrison anyway. Scioscia said Morales feels "a lot better." He may be available to pinch-hit Saturday and could start Sunday, against righty Neftali Feliz.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.