SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford hit a bullet to the right side, but when Jered Weaver turned around, there was Albert Pujols, diving full-extension to his right, fielding the short-hop cleanly and feeding the Angels' ace for a 3-1 putout that was one of two diving stops Wednesday for the $240 million first baseman.
"That's what we're used to seeing out of him," Weaver said after giving up two runs (one earned) in four innings during his second Cactus League start. "You can tell he feels good, feels healthy. He's a Gold Glove first baseman when he's feeling good, feeling healthy, and obviously we saw it on that play."
Pujols, coming off a season in which he was limited to 99 games because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, has started at first base in four of the Angels' six Cactus League games -- and Wednesday was the most positive day so far.
Pujols traveled to play in back-to-back games for the first time this spring. He notched his first hit, singling up the middle to snap an 0-for-9 skid. And he made two diving plays at first base, robbing Crawford of a hit in the first and doing the same to Joaquin Arias in the sixth.
Weaver said the difference between Pujols in March 2013 and March 2014 is "night and day."
"Just the way he's running around, the way he's moving at first -- just walking in general, he looks more healthy," Weaver said. "I've been talking to him. He says he's feeling really good. Hopefully we can keep him at that level."
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.Less