KANSAS CITY -- Albert Pujols was back at first base for the first time in more than three weeks.
After spending the last 16 games serving as the designated hitter, Pujols returned to his usual defensive spot in Friday's series opener against the Royals. It was his first game back at first base since injuring his right calf on Aug. 22 against the Red Sox. Pujols missed the next four games before returning as the DH, while still battling inflammation.
"He feels comfortable with it, and our medical staff does. I think that's the biggest thing in the decision-making process," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he's far more comfortable when he plays the field, as far as what he can contribute to the team. And if he feels good about where his leg is, if he feels he can get out there, that's definitely a plus for us."
"Health-wise, you can't control it," Pujols said. "You go out there and play 162 games, you wish you could stay healthy the whole time, but that doesn't happen. Look at the injury that I have. It's weird. Nothing's really damaged, and they started me as a DH for two weeks. Stuff like that is out of your control."
Pujols credited the Angels' training staff with getting him ready to take the field.
"[It was] just a lot of treatment, a lot of hard work with the trainers," Pujols said. "I'm just glad to be out there, and hopefully I can stay there for the rest of the season."