St. Louis Cardinals first baseman/designated hitter/relief pitcher Albert Pujols broke down his first-career pitching performance.
Last week, St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame first baseman/designated hitter Albert Pujols took the mound for the first time. On Sunday, during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he took the opportunity to break down the performance.
“You know what, bro? It’s not as easy as it looks,” Pujols said on the Cardinals television broadcast on Sunday. You always think, “Oh, you’re just throwing the ball down the middle.’ I was really comfortable when I was warming up until I got the first batter out there and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’
Two things: I didn’t want to hit him and I wanted to throw a strike. The funny thing is two days before, Yadi and I were talking about how we were going to pitch just in case they needed us. Let’s practice. I think we did that on Friday and two days later I’m on the mound pitching. It’s almost like a dream come true.”
Would Pujols be open to pitching again?
“I don’t mind,” Pujols said, laughing. “I had a week off. I had a bullpen session. I’m feeling good to go.”
In all likelihood, Pujols is done pitching unless there is another circumstance where the Cardinals are leading by 10 or more runs or in a game where they’re behind by such a margin. But the fact that Pujols and Yadier Molina discussed such a scenario only days before it became reality adds another layer to how cool and unique this moment was.
In 21 games this season, Pujols has struggled at the plate. He’s hitting only .210/.319/.339 with two home runs and eight RBI. But he has managed to make a large impact on the clubhouse, routinely helping younger players with their swings or offering knowledge that he has picked up in 22 seasons in baseball.
It’s part of what makes Pujols such a valuable commodity and why they re-signed the veteran for his final season in the majors. They expect him to contribute on the field, of course, and as his pitching outing from last week underscored, it can come in more ways than one.