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Pujols says he'll decide future after season with Angels

FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols waves to players in the Colorado Rockies dugout in the second inning of a baseball game in Denver. Pujols wife apparently disclosed that the Angels slugger will retire after the upcoming season, although she later amended her social media post to be less definitive. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols waves to players in the Colorado Rockies dugout in the second inning of a baseball game in Denver. Pujols wife apparently disclosed that the Angels slugger will retire after the upcoming season, although she later amended her social media post to be less definitive. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Albert Pujols woke up from a nap last Monday in Arizona to find several hundred messages and missed calls on his phone.

While he was sleeping, the Los Angeles Angels slugger's wife, Deidre, had put up a complimentary Instagram post about her husband that was widely interpreted to mean Pujols had decided to retire after this season, his 21st in the majors.

“Hey, that's the life we're living on social media,” Pujols said Saturday with a chuckle. “It's sad that everybody just had to run with it.”

The 41-year-old slugger quickly reiterated what he has been saying for months: He hasn't decided whether he will continue playing after the conclusion of his 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels this fall, and he won't make or announce a decision until after the season.

“I think our organization, my friends, people that follow my career for 21 years deserve better than just me or her posting something on Instagram,” Pujols said in his first interviews of spring training. "This thing just got blown out of proportion. My mind is not even there. My mind is on staying focused, healthy, and hopefully trying to help this ballclub win this year, and that's it. If I feel at the end of the year that that's it, I'll announce it (and) go home. But I'm not even there yet.”

The fifth-leading home run hitter in major league history says he has more pressing concerns on his mind, primarily the chase of his first playoff victory with the Angels. Not playing in October will never stop grating on Pujols, who begins the new season with 662 homers along with 2,100 RBIs, third-most in baseball history.

“I don’t even get to watch (the postseason), because I get so mad because we should have been there,” he said.

Pujols has at least one more chance to get the team success he craves alongside Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani. The 10-time All-Star is in the midst of five consecutive losing seasons and six straight non-playoff campaigns with the Angels, but there is cautious optimism around the big-budget franchise heading into manager Joe Maddon's second season in charge.