Albert Pujols hopes to play in WBC

Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols says he hopes to play for the Dominican Republic after the second round of the World Baseball Classic.

The first baseman and three-time National League MVP had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in October. He would need special permission from the Angels to take part in the Classic.

Pujols told a Dominican radio show that the Angels support him in his goal to play for his Caribbean homeland during the international competition.

He said Tuesday: "That's why I had the operation in October, to be ready for the Classic."

However, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that Pujols will not play for the Dominican Republic.

The Times reported Pujols was not cleared by Major League Baseball nor the MLB Players Association due to liability issues connected to the surgery.

Pujols says he's working to strengthen his right leg and expects to be in good condition for the start of spring training.

Pujols hit .285 with 30 homers in his first season with the Angels.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.