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Big League Stew

Albert Pujols’ homerless drought enters its second month as star takes issue with hitting coach

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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(AP)

So Albert Pujols went homerless during Monday night's 4-3 win over Minnesota, making his April 2012 split of zero homers part of his permanent record and taking our "Emo Albert Pujols" picture post into its second month of relevance!

It also made baseball heavyweight Joe Posnanski surmise that perhaps this is the moment where Pujols' career turns into something more man than machine.

The calendar flipping from April to May is as arbitrary as any of the other data sets we've constructed for the $240 million man so far this season. But that doesn't mean it doesn't carry more weight than the situation did the day before. Critics and cynics can now point to a perfectly bound month in which Pujols marched to the plate 98 times and failed to hit a home run during any of his appearances. It's the second-longest power slump of his career and though he's had to beat reporter after reporter back with claims of a measured approach, you know it has to be bothering Pujols somewhere inside that noggin.

Heck, we saw a tiny bit of something — was it anger, surliness or impatience? — on Monday night when he took public umbrage at Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher divulging some details from a team hitting meeting. Publicly disagreeing with the higher-ups is something that didn't happen often — if ever — in St. Louis.

Writes Scott Miller of CBS Sports:

Pujols was among the Angels hitters who spoke at what was as much pep rally as meeting before Monday's series opener with the Twins, according to hitting coach Mickey Hatcher.

Hatcher told a couple of Angels beat reporters before the game that Pujols essentially stood up and told his teammates that he won't be flailing as he is all season, and that he's got first-hand experience with clubs that have conquered losing streaks and hitting slumps to win in the end. [...]

Pujols was not happy after Monday's game when he learned that secrets were shared.

"Mickey should have never told you guys that," Pujols said. "That stuff needs to be private. He should have never told the media ... What we talked about at the meeting, not disrespecting Mickey, but that stuff should stay behind closed doors."

The first crack in the foundation? Or something that we'll soon forget once Pujols regains the form that saw him murder three baseballs during one World Series game last October?

Time will tell where we can file that nugget, but it seems obvious Pujols needs that first one to fly over the fence. And while it might have been solely for the media and fans the past week or so, I'm guessing that Pujols is going to start wanting it for himself.

If he hasn't started wanting it already.

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