Pujols gaining strength through running program

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Though Albert Pujols made his spring debut on Tuesday, he did it in the designated hitter's slot while the Angels stood ready to use a designated runner for Pujols if he made it on base.

He went 0-for-3, and spent the following two days working on running drills in preparation for his next start, expected to come on Friday at home against the D-backs.

"He's getting two good running workouts in -- yesterday and today," manager Mike Scioscia said. "And then he'll be ready to get out there [in a game] tomorrow. He's still got a little work to do on the practice field running before we want to push him hard into playing games, but he's getting there. He could have played today, but our medical staff felt better with him getting a good workout on the cuts and running and maybe getting ready to play tomorrow."

Pujols is still a week or so away from taking the field at first and running full steam, but easing him into the lineup in the DH slot is helping him get his timing down against live pitching while he hones the other elements of his game.

"He got very aggressive on the outfield cuts, and he'll repeat that and probably transfer it to some easy base[running], Scioscia said. "It's a progression. I don't think it's going to take too much time until you're seeing him out there running the bases. Certainly within a week's time, if he has no setbacks, he should be out there running."

Scioscia said Pujols is already running at 90-100 percent along the edge of the outfield grass, noting, "He was getting after it."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.