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Albert Pujols bats cleanup in his Dodgers debut, Yoshi Tsutsugo & David Price also activated

From Dodgers on Twitter

The Dodgers on Monday added newcomers Albert Pujols and Yoshi Tsutsugo to the active roster, with Pujols starting at first base on his first day with the team.

Pujols is batting fourth against Diamondbacks left-hander Madison Bumgarner, against whom he has two hits in eight at-bats, including a home run and two walks. Both hits came in 2010-11 when Pujols was with the Cardinals. The two faced off in only one game since — last September, when Pujols the Angel was 0-for-2 with a walk.

“I told them I’m here to do whatever. Pinch hit, first base, whatever they want,” Pujols said on Monday after his contract with the Dodgers became official.”

It’s the 633rd start batting cleanup in Pujols’ illustrious career, though just the sixth time since the start of 2020.

“We think there’s still life to the bat,” said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. “There’s efficiency in his swing. He’s impacting baseballs.”

Dodgers-D-backs lineups

Pos D-backs Pos Dodgers
Pos D-backs Pos Dodgers
1B Smith (L) RF Betts
RF Rojas (L) 3B Turner
3B Escobar (S) 2B Muncy (L)
LF Peralta (L) 1B Pujols
2B Leyba (S) C Smith
C Vogt (L) LF Neuse
SS Ahmed SS Lux (L)
CF Locastro CF Peters
P Bumgarner P Buehler

Notably absent from the Dodgers lineup is Chris Taylor, who was a late scratch Sunday with right wrist soreness. Before the series finale against Miami, and before Taylor was scratched with right wrist soreness, manager Dave Roberts said the plan was for Taylor to start at shortstop against Bumgarner.

On Monday, Roberts said Taylor was day-to-day, but is available off the bench on Monday for just about anything, including pinch hitting.

“It’s more the ramping up, to then sit, then start up again, with the wrist,” Roberts said. “I just felt that, with the training staff, if there is one ramp up to take an at-bat if the game was in the balance, then we’ll do that.”

Gavin Lux gets the call at shortstop for the second straight game since Corey Seager broke the fifth metacarpal of his right hand.

Tsutsugo was acquired by the Rays on Saturday, and is expected to be a left-handed bat off the bench, plus mixing in some time at first base, third base, and perhaps left field.

Also in the Dodgers lineup Monday is DJ Peters, who has never faced Bumgarner in the majors, but with Class-A in 2017 homered twice against a rehabbing Bumgarner for Rancho Cucamonga.

David Price was also activated from the injured list on Monday.

Price is back after missing three weeks and 18 games with a right hamstring strain, after having thrown a simulated inning last week and facing hitters on Friday in lieu of a minor league rehab assignment.

“I feel like I’m ready to go,” Price said Friday. “Everything feels completely normal, if not better than normal. I’d love to get back out there and help these guys win as soon as possible.”

On the active roster, pitchers Alex Vesia and Mitch White, and catcher Keibert Ruiz were optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. That gives the Dodgers 13 position players and 13 pitchers on the active roster.

Game info

Teams: Dodgers vs. D-backs

Location: Dodger Stadium

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network (out of market)