Pujols with wife, newborn as Halos open homestand

Pujols with wife, newborn as Halos open homestand

ANAHEIM -- The Angels opened up what's probably a make-or-break nine-game homestand against the Rangers on Tuesday, but Albert Pujols wasn't with them. The Angels' first baseman stayed back in Kansas City to be with his wife and his new baby girl, who was born in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Though the Angels are in a down-the-stretch chase for the playoffs, and every game is of utmost importance, manager Mike Scioscia believes "there's no doubt Albert is where he needs to be."

"I'm speaking for myself," he added. "You can ask other people in our organization, but I'm sure we're all on the same page with that."

Pujols is expected to be back in the starting lineup on Wednesday. His wife, Deidre, had the couple's fifth child and third daughter, Esther Grace, at 3:30 a.m. CT on Sunday. Luckily for Pujols, and his team, the Angels were playing a series in Kansas City, where Deidre's parents live, so Pujols was able to be with his wife for the birth and then, with little sleep, serve as the designated hitter for the series finale at Kauffman Stadium.

The plan originally didn't call for Pujols to miss Tuesday's game, which came after the Monday off-day, but as Scioscia said, "Anybody who's ever wanted to get their baby cleared to get out of the hospital, you know sometimes there's things that take some time."

Scioscia added that "everything seems like it went very smoothly."

"The plan was, whenever he got things settled, he was going to play with us," Scioscia said. "The fact that we were in Kansas City, she had the baby in Kansas City, made it easier for him to play on Sunday. And then taking care of the matter, he needed yesterday and today to take care of them. But believe me, we're 100 percent behind what he needs to do for his family."

Minus Pujols, batting .282 with 30 homers and 96 RBIs on the year, Torii Hunter hit in the No. 3 spot and Kendrys Morales played first base as the cleanup hitter against Rangers righty Ryan Dempster.

The Angels enter the week three games behind the Orioles for the second American League Wild Card spot, with 15 games left.

"We've gone through stretches of the season where he's been hurt or hasn't been available, but for a family matter like this, there's no doubt that he's where he needs to be," Scioscia said. "I think our lineup is deep and hopefully on the offensive side, we're going to absorb it and do what we need to do."