Pujols confident hits -- and homers -- will come

Pujols confident hits -- and homers -- will come

Pujols confident hits -- and homers -- will come
ANAHEIM -- Periodically smiling and constantly defiant, Albert Pujols seemed rather at ease given the circumstances that faced him Thursday night, after an 0-for-3 performance and yet another homerless game.

On Friday, Pujols -- the new Angels first baseman, signed to a $240 million contract just five months ago -- has a chance to drop his batting average below the Mendoza Line and set a new mark for consecutive single-season at-bats without a home run.

Publicly, at least, he doesn't look shaken.

He doesn't seem frustrated.

"Frustrated?" Pujols said. "I don't use that word."

Pujols was clean-shaven prior to the start of a four-game series against the Blue Jays, but he claims he didn't do that as any form of slump-busting technique. "Luck" is apparently not a word he uses, either.

"I don't believe in luck, man, that's not who I am," Pujols said. "I believe in God. That's the main thing. Luck is for people that are desperate, and I'm not desperate."

But by grounding out three times to third base in Thursday night's 5-0 loss to the Blue Jays -- though one of those should've been a single -- Pujols put his batting average at .202 to start the year and his homerless streak at 104 at-bats, one shy of his career high set last season.

The deepest into a season Pujols' batting average has fallen below .200 is April 20, done in 2007.

"I don't change my swing, man," Pujols said. "I stay with the same approach and just try to keep fighting. It's tough, but I've been in that situation before and I know how to handle it.

"I'm pretty sure things are going to turn the way that I want it to. It's just a matter of time."

The 32-year-old has yet to have a multihit game since the three-double night on April 19, has driven in only one run since April 15 and hasn't drawn a walk in eight straight games.

Angels starter Dan Haren saw similar early struggles from Frank Thomas when the two were with the A's together in 2006. Through the season's first month, Thomas was hitting .190 with five homers, then finished the year batting .270 with 39 homers, 114 RBIs and was fourth in American League MVP voting.

"He's obviously scuffling, everyone knows that," Haren said of Pujols. "But I think he cares more than anybody else. The guy's one of the first guys here, he's constantly looking at video in the batting cage, and it's definitely not for lack of effort because the guy's an amazing worker. It'll turn around. He's one of the best players of all-time."