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In AL, Pujols presents new challenge to Yanks

In AL, Pujols presents new challenge to Yanks

In AL, Pujols presents new challenge to Yanks
NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter joked that the Yankees' pitchers are "doing backflips" in the clubhouse about the prospect of having to face Albert Pujols on a regular basis this season.

As the recently signed Angels slugger makes his first visit to the new Yankee Stadium, the Bombers feel that Pujols' transition to the American League is good for baseball in general, but it won't help them win any games against a tough Halos club.

"It's exciting for Angels fans; it's exciting for baseball fans getting an opportunity to see him," Jeter said. "We haven't played him much. I know Albert from All-Star Games.

"You know he's going to bring a lot of excitement to the Angels, but it's not like you enjoy competing against a guy -- talking from a pitcher's perspective -- that's arguably the best hitter in the game."

Yankees hurlers haven't seen much of Pujols. Hiroki Kuroda entered Friday's start having faced Pujols the most of any active Yankees pitcher, holding the right-handed slugger to a .200 (3-for-15) performance with a double and an RBI. The Yankees have six active pitchers who had never faced Pujols.

"Obviously, he's one of the greatest hitters in the game," Kuroda said through a translator. "I have to challenge him and stay aggressive against him."

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said that it was nice to have another star in the league who was drawing attention for his huge contract. Pujols inked a 10-year, $240 million deal over the offseason, though it still trumps Rodriguez's pact with the Yankees.

"That's exciting -- they've been doing a lot of that lately," Rodriguez said. "Baseball is in a good place, it's a good matchup, and we're excited to hopefully get a big win in front of our home fans."

Jeter said that he believes Pujols' deal will prove to be a good signing for the Angels.

"The contract, he deserves it," Jeter said. "He's been playing well for a very, very long time. He deserves everything he gets."

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