Albert Pujols, guest speaker

The Angels had a hitters' meeting before their three-game series with the Minnesota Twins Monday, probably a good idea since they're 13th in the American League in runs, home runs and OPS, not to mention coming off a stretch of seven games in which they scored a total of 11 runs.

One of the players to speak up was Albert Pujols.

"He said, 'I know I'm not going to be like this the whole year, guys,' " Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said.

The Angels certainly hope not. After signing a 10-year, $240 million contract to come to Anaheim, he's off to the worst start of his career, batting .216 and in the second-longest homer-less streak of his career, 88 at-bats, going into Monday.

The Angels view the Pujols' problem as more a matter of trying too hard rather than of diminished confidence. His comment would seem to suggest he remains confident in his ability to hit.

The entire team seems to be waiting for Pujols to break out of this slump so it can relax and display the firepower it thought it had in spring training with the addition of Pujols and the return of Kendrys Morales. It's almost like the entire team is taking on Pujols' stress.

"This is not all on Albert, but I do think he's that dynamic a player that he has the ability to be that catalyst," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Once we stoke the offense and get it going, it doesn't have to be contingent on Albert."

Here are lineups for Monday's game:


Denard Span CF

Jamey Carroll SS

Josh Willingham LF

Justin Morneau DH

Danny Valencia 3B

Ryan Doumit C

Trevor Plouffe RF

Chris Parmalee 1B

Alexi Casilla 2B


Mike Trout CF

Maicer Izturis 3B

Albert Pujols 1B

Kendrys Morales DH

Torii Hunter RF

Howie Kendrick 2B

Vernon Wells LF

Erick Aybar SS

Chris Iannetta C