SAN DIEGO -- It's not just home runs on back-to-back days that makes you think Albert Pujols might be turning a corner.
It's the way he's hit those two homers.
On Wednesday, Pujols kept his hands in on an 0-1, middle-inside fastball from Chicago's Gavin Floyd and drilled it into left-center field, just below the rocks at Angel Stadium. On Thursday, he got a high, outside-corner, 3-1 fastball from White Sox lefty Chris Sale and drove it out to straightaway center field.
For a guy who had pulled a whopping 71 percent of the balls he had put in play heading into Tuesday, those swings marked progress.
And from a No. 3 hitter who came into Friday's series opener against the Padres still hitting just .214 with three homers, the Angels will take any signs of that.
"There's always some signs that he's moving forward, but the way he puts it, he feels really comfortable about the process and where he's going to end up," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He says that when he gets there, you'll see a big difference."
The Angels haven't really seen a big difference yet, per se. Only flashes, sprinkled in among several at-bats that Pujols has started out behind in the count before producing grounders to the left side or weak popups to the right.
Pujols has been producing better lately, batting .309 in his last eight games entering Friday and driving in 13 runs in his last 11, but the last thing a power hitter wants to see is spacious Petco Park.
"This is a big ballpark," Scioscia said. "This ballpark isn't very forgiving. Your mis-hits right here aren't going to go out of the park. We'll just see how that goes. But he hits three rockets, line drives that are caught against the wall, in this park, I don't think you're going to consider it a failure that he didn't get any hits. He's had some good at-bats, and that's all you can control."