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OC Register: Albert Pujols brings back rough childhood memories for Angels rookie Justin Anderson

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SEATTLE — As Albert Pujols approached and passed the 3,000-hit milestone, his teammates all spoke in reverent terms about the respect they had for Pujols and his career.

None of them, though, viewed Pujols through quite the same lens as rookie reliever Justin Anderson.

See, Anderson grew up in Houston, as an Astros fan. Anderson was 8 when Pujols broke into the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals, beginning more than a decade of terrorizing the Astros as a division rival.

Anderson had just turned 13 when Pujols hit his iconic homer against Brad Lidge, temporarily denying the Astros the National League pennant in 2005.

“It was a nightmare,” Anderson recalled on Saturday. “That homer just deflated everybody in that stadium when it happened… That guy crushed me as a kid, and now here we are as teammates.”

Anderson said that, although Pujols dashed his hopes repeatedly, he was never one of the fans who booed him. Now, his respect for Pujols has only increased.

“You always looked at the incredible accomplishments,” Anderson said. “You always knew he’d be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Now, watching him go about his work as a teammate is incredible.”


Pujols became the second player to notch his 3,000th hit in an Angels uniform, some 33 years after Rod Carew did it.

Carew, however, almost didn’t get there. Carew recently recalled a slump that occurred earlier in the 1985 season, when he was still a few dozen hits short of 3,000.

“I was struggling and just got tired and fed up with baseball,” Carew said.

He said it took the words of Reggie Jackson, another future Hall of Famer playing out the string in his career, to get him back on track.

“I was real frustrated with the game and I was thinking of giving it up,” Carew said. “Reggie said, ‘If you do I’m going to kick you in the rear.’ He said, ‘Rod, you’re going to do something that will mean to much to you and others,’ so I decided to stay on.”

Carew notched hit No. 3,000 on Aug. 4, coincidentally against the Minnesota Twins, with whom he’d played the first half of his career.


Kole Calhoun was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game when the Angels faced a left-handed starter on Saturday. He last started against a lefty on April 17, against Boston’s David Price.

Still, the Angels continue to play him against all righties, the only concession to his slump being a drop to eighth in the order. Calhoun has five hits in his last 58 at-bats, with 20 strikeouts.

Manager Mike Scioscia said he still believes Calhoun has been working extra with hitting coaches Eric Hinske and Paul Sorrento.

“I think he’s trying to work through some things with Ski and Pauly, and I think he’s making progress,” Scioscia said. “It just hasn’t been able to translate out to the field yet.”


Matt Shoemaker (forearm stiffness) came through Friday’s bullpen session without issue, and he will throw another one on Sunday. “He feels good today,” Scioscia said. “He had a great bullpen.”…

Parker Bridwell (elbow inflammation), who has been on the disabled list in Triple-A, has already thrown a couple bullpen sessions, Scioscia said.


Angels (Shohei Ohtani, 2-1, 4.43) at Mariners (Felix Hernandez, 4-2, 4.89), Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM).

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