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Pujols happy to DH in order to keep healthy

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ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols was back at first base on Monday, after spending the previous two games at designated hitter while nursing some tightness in his right hamstring.

Pujols initially hurt his hamstring while fielding a throw from Hector Santiago on Friday, then felt it grab on him while taking grounders at first base prior to Saturday's game and told Angels manager Mike Scioscia it would be best to use him at DH for a couple days.

Pujols said the injury wasn't serious, and that he would've played first base if it were a National League game, but the important point here is that he doesn't have to. Being able to utilize the DH spot whenever minor leg ailments pop up is an important avenue to keep the 34-year-old fresh for the long term.

"Definitely," said Pujols, who entered the series opener against the Yankees with a .287/.353/.598 slash line to go along with 10 homers and 25 RBIs. "You have to be smart. I've had other ailments in my legs. I don't want to have to tweak my knee or my plantar fasciitis. I need to be smart with that, protecting my hamstrings. It was something that I thought these two days could be a benefit, and they were."

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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