Depending on one’s point of view, Albert Pujols started his exhibition season 10 days late or 10 days early.
Recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee, the three-time MVP went 0 for 3 in his first spring training appearance of 2013 as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-4 on Tuesday.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia had not expected Pujols to play for another week-and-a-half.
“I need to get my at-bats,” said Pujols, who had a pair of groundouts and struck out.
PHILLIES: Cole Hamels’ third start of spring training looked more like batting practice for the Dominican Republic.
Jose Reyes, former GreenJacket Hanley Ramirez and the Dominican Republic put on a relentless offensive display in their first exhibition game ahead of the World Baseball Classic, amassing 28 hits in a 15-2 romp over Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Hamels allowed eight runs on 12 hits in 2⅔ innings.
DODGERS: Clayton Kershaw gave up four runs and seven hits in three-plus innings, his third consecutive sub-par outing of the spring, and Los Angeles lost 7-3 to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.
Kershaw has given up nine runs on 17 hits in eight innings.
FIT TO BE TIED: The U.S. team played to a 4-4 tie with the Chicago White Sox in the first of its two exhibition games leading up to the start of the World Baseball Classic.
First baseman Mark Teixeira will miss the tournament after straining his right forearm while swinging in the batting cage before the game.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in Tampa, Fla., that X-rays on Teixeira’s hand and wrist area came back negative.
It was unclear who would replace him on the U.S. team.
Giancarlo Stanton drove in three runs and Ryan Braun went 3 for 4 for the U.S., which opens pool play Friday night against Mexico.
Former Georgia star Gordon Beckham went 3 for 3 with an RBI for the White Sox.