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Pujols running toward Cactus League contests


TEMPE, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols, recovering from offseason arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, continues to take batting practice, run on the treadmill and field ground balls in his general vicinity.

Later this week, Pujols will start running on the field -- first in a straight line, then gradually working in turns so he can eventually run the bases. And in a couple of weeks -- around mid-March, as planned -- he'll start playing in Cactus League games, with Opening Day on April 1 still not in doubt.

The Angels open the season under National League rules, against the Reds in Cincinnati, so Pujols won't be able to serve as the designated hitter. But the Angels are off the following day, then travel to the Rangers' American League park two days later.

Pujols is the only everyday position player who hasn't made his way into the Angels' lineup.

"There's no need to rush him," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think if Opening Day was on the horizon, he might feel the need to push it a little bit. He really doesn't need to be into games until probably the second week of March. I anticipate he'll play before then, for him to be ready for the season."

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