Pujols says left foot is '99.9 percent healthy'
Angels star takes batting practice in Dominican Republic, prepares for '14
ANAHEIM -- Angels first baseman Albert Pujols is spending the early portion of the offseason in his native Dominican Republic, taking part in the annual mission trip via his foundation and training at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo.
Speaking to on-site reporters via ESPNDeportes Radio earlier this week, Pujols said his left foot, which suffered a partial tear of the plantar fascia and put him out for the last two months, is "99.9 percent healthy" and his rehab is going "really good."
"I feel really happy," Pujols said in Spanish while on the show "Grandes en los Deportes" on Tuesday. "Last year … it was a really tough year for me physically, in terms of recovering. But now I feel really good, really excellent. With the foot, I feel 99.9 percent healthy. And with my knee, I'm doing my rehab like always. That's something where you have to keep doing therapy so that something small doesn't become something bigger."
Pujols entered Spring Training limited by offseason arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, then plantar fasciitis -- a more aggressive form than he'd ever dealt with -- crept up in March. Pujols lasted only 99 games -- 65 of which were spent as a designated hitter -- and posted an uncharacteristic .258/.330/.437 slash line before his season abruptly ended on July 26.
The partial tear, however, replaced the need for surgery with non-invasive shockwave treatments and allowed Pujols to have a normal offseason, as he heads into the third season of a 10-year, $240 million deal.
Pujols, who took live batting practice Tuesday, is looking at the positives.
"This is what I've done since I was little, play baseball, and missing a month and a half wasn't something I was planning on," Pujols said. "But at the same time, I understand. I was playing with an injury, plantar fasciitis, for almost nine years. And it was time -- I rode it until the end.
"I look back on it positively. If I would've done the surgery after the season, I would've been out of any baseball activities for four to five months. Since it happened when it did, I had six, seven weeks out. I missed the season, but at least I now feel 100 percent, where I can do the things I want to do to prepare for 2014."
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.