Even after two home runs and a hard double against Los Angeles on Monday, Albert Pujols said he still isn’t quite prepared for regular season play.
“My body is not ready for the season,” the Cardinals’ first baseman said, “and my swing is not ready.”
He helped lead St. Louis to a 6-1 victory against the Dodgers at Roger Dean Stadium.
“That’s why we have six weeks of spring training to get ready,” he said. “When April 5th comes, I’ll be ready.”
In eight at-bats this spring, Pujols has five hits including three home runs and two doubles.
“I’m doing the same this year as I do every spring,” Pujols said. “Why change anything when you have success?”
Pujols said it may look like he’s hitting hard, but spectators have to keep in mind that the pitchers are still preparing for the season, too.
Jeff Weaver served up the home run pitches to Pujols.
“The first one I thought was a pretty good pitch but he carried it,” Weaver said. “On the second one, I tried to come in off the plate, but it carried out over the third of the plate, and he crushed it.”
Weaver was satisfied with his performance, though he gave up four runs on six hits in three innings. “I’m not really concerned about results; I’m just trying to throw my pitches where I want them,” he said.
St. Louis’ Jason Marquis gave up two hits, including a home run to Jason Repko, in three innings of work. Second baseman Mark Grudzielanek got his first hits as a Cardinal, going 2-for-2. Outfielder Roger Cedeno went two-for-three and is 5-for-10 for the spring.
Mark Mulder will make his second spring start for the Cardinals on Tuesday against Washington at Roger Dean Stadium.
ROYALS: Jamey Wright allowed two hits in four shutout innings to help the Colorado Rockies to an 8-7 win against the Kansas City Royals.
Matt Holliday had three RBIs, and Ryan Speier threw five pitches to stop a ninth-inning Royals rally and earn the save.
The star, though, was Wright (1-0), a first-round draft pick of the Rockies in 1993 who played for three other teams — including the Royals — in the last four years before he returned to Denver last season.
While Wright was successful, the rest of Colorado’s staff wasn’t so good. Three candidates for the closer job in the bullpen struggled.
The front-runner, Chin-hui Tsao, threw one inning and didn’t allow a run, but gave up two walks and got bad reviews from manager Clint Hurdle.
“There’s a difference between participating and making progress, and right now, he’s just participating,” Hurdle said.
Left-hander Brian Fuentes followed Tsao and allowed a single, double, triple and homer in one bad inning.
Right-hander Eddie Gaillard, in his bid to make the team after five years in Japan, gave up three runs in the ninth and put the tying run on before he was lifted for Speier, who struck out Matt Diaz to save the win.
Chris George (0-1) allowed three runs in two innings for the Royals, who lost their fourth straight.
Ruben Gotay went 0-for-3 after starting spring training 5-for-8. Emil Brown hit a two-run homer off Gaillard. Mark Teahen had a two-run homer off Fuentes.