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Pujols on track to play first base within the next week

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Pujols on track to play first base within the next week play video for Pujols on track to play first base within the next week

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Even with all the speculation about when Albert Pujols' knee will be fully healthy and when he'll be able to play in the field, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the timetable for his star first baseman is relatively clear in his mind.

Pujols, who had offseason knee surgery, should play in the field within the next week, and at the plate, he's just about ready to go -- even though he was only cleared to run the bases on Wednesday.

"I don't think it's guesswork," Scioscia said. "Right now, if we were to start the season tomorrow, in the batter's box he would be ready. He's swung the bat really well. The guesswork is going to come with how much he's going to play defense and how much he's going to DH."

In five games as the designated hitter, Pujols is 6-for-14 with a pair of homers. The biggest reason Pujols has yet to play the field, Scioscia said, is that he doesn't want to overload him in Spring Training when he doesn't have to.

Recently, Pujols has taken grounders during morning workouts, but that's something the Angels can monitor and limit, unlike game situations.

"Right now, he's really just getting into the flow of running or making the turns on the bases," Scioscia said. "I don't think you want to add the variable of playing defense right now."

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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