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Pujols runs for himself for first time this spring

Pujols runs for himself for first time this spring

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols' recovery from offseason knee surgery cleared another, albeit small, hurdle on Wednesday: He ran for himself.

For his previous three Cactus League starts, the Angels made an agreement with the opposing manager to let them deploy a courtesy runner if Pujols reached base, though it only came into play on Sunday.

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In the first inning Wednesday against the Padres at Peoria Sports Complex, Pujols reached on a fielder's choice, but was tagged out on a grounder to first baseman Kyle Blanks on the very next play. The 33-year-old first baseman flied out to deep right-center field in his second plate appearance, then hit a stand-up RBI double down the left-field line his third time up before being replaced by a pinch-runner because his day was over.

Pujols, who ran the bases for the first time on Saturday, isn't close to running at full speed yet, but is progressing nonetheless.

"He feels better," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He feels good on the bases, at least being able to, with a governor on, run a little bit."

Pujols, 4-for-11 with two homers, may do the same again on Thursday against the White Sox, but Scioscia said Pujols is still another week to 10 days from debuting at first base.

"We have time," Scioscia added.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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