Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
When the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Albert Pujols last season, manager Dave Roberts said the decision stemmed from productive and open conversations with the future Hall of Famer, and his willingness to buy into a role the front office outlined.
Roberts regularly praised Pujols for the duration of his tenure with the Dodgers, and there was some thought he would re-sign. But Pujols instead returned to the St. Louis Cardinals for the final season of his career.
Along with the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, he was added to the 2022 MLB All-Star Game as a legacy selection by commissioner Rob Manfred. Pujols additionally accepted an invitation to participate in the Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium.
Roberts, who is on the National League coaching staff, is looking forward to seeing Pujols take swings in the event, via SportsNet LA:
“It’s going to be great. It was a perfect storm for Albert last year with us. He performed well, he was received well, he was just great with our fanbase. To know that he accepted that home run challenge, it’s going to be pretty exciting. I think he’s going to be the fan-favorite.”
Monday marks the first time Pujols is back at Dodger Stadium since signing with the Cardinals. The Dodgers just won two of three games at Busch Stadium, and the Cardinals aren’t due to travel to Los Angeles until September.
Pujols presumably will have the support of Dodgers fans, but since Roberts’ comments, Corey Seager was added to the Home Run Derby as well. Although he left the club in free agency for a mega contract with the Texas Rangers, many within the Dodgers fanbase still revere Seager.
Juan Soto trade rumors and the Dodgers potentially getting involved in the sweepstakes may garner plenty of cheers as well if fans attempt to begin recruiting efforts if the 23-year-old reaches free agency.
2022 Home Run Derby bracket
No. 1 Kyle Schwarber vs. No. 8 Albert Pujols
No. 2 Pete Alonso vs. No. 7 Ronald Acuña Jr.
No. 3 Corey Seager vs. No. 6 Julio Rodriguez
No. 4 Juan Soto vs. No. 5 José Ramirez
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