Pujols says he isn't caught up in homer drought
Prolific slugger waiting for first one as Angel after 54 at-bats
ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols thought he had finally broken the ice on Thursday, but his fifth-inning line drive fell six inches short of clearing the left-field fence, giving him one of his three doubles on the night instead of his first home run in 13 games with the Angels.
So, once again, Pujols had to talk about not yet hitting a home run.
"I can't wait until I hit a home run so you guys can stop talking about it," he said after going 3-for-5 in the Angels' 4-2 loss to the A's. "I mean, guys, whenever it happens -- whether it's going to be tomorrow, a month from now, two months from now -- I don't know when it's going to happen.
"I'm not going to go out there and try to hit the ball out of the park. My job is to go out there and have good at-bats. I know I have power. I know I can hit the ball from corner to corner. I know all that. But I'm not going to think about and get caught up and say, 'Man, I haven't hit a home run,' because I don't get caught up in all that. My job is to make sure that I stay focused and make sure that I don't get locked in on whatever you guys are writing and saying, because I know what I can do. And I'm going to go out there and try to perform every day."
Pujols doesn't have a home run, but he does look locked in at the plate. All three of his doubles on Thursday were the product of scorching line drives -- one to deep left field, one down the left-field line and one in the right-center field gap. He has hit safely in nine straight games -- matching his season high from last season -- and has put his batting average at .296 in 54 at-bats.
The one game -- the only game -- in which he felt things were wrong with his swing was April 9 in Minnesota, when he grounded out to third base four times.
Other than that, Pujols believes he's been just fine.
"I think if you watch over my [last] 25 at-bats or 30 at-bats, they've been really quality at-bats," he said. "So, if you're watching the game, I think I'm putting good at-bats, and that's all I can ask for myself.
"I'm not going to change the way I prepare myself just because I want to do a little bit more. I'm still going to get prepared and get my swing. I'm not going to overswing, because I feel good. I'm seeing the ball good. Last year I went through this, and I think if I would've been striking out or rolling over a lot of balls, I would've said something's wrong, I have to stay back. But I'm putting in good swings."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and 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.