JUPITER, Fla. — Albert Pujols is officially a Cardinal once again. And according to him, this is his last ride.
The Cardinals introduced Pujols alongside owner Bill DeWitt Jr., president of baseball operations John Mozeliak and manager Oliver Marmol following the team's spring training game on Monday.
"This is it for me, this is my last run," Pujols said. "I might get pumped up and play winter ball. But this is probably the last uniform I'll wear in the big leagues."
Pujols signed a one-year deal to return to the Cardinals for 2022 where he's expected to help the team as a designated hitter.
"Yes, I went to southern California for a while, but I felt like I never left St. Louis," Pujols said.
In his press conference, Pujols said long-time friends and current Cardinals Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina had been constantly in his ear asking if he was coming back for one last run.
Watch the full news conference in the video below:
"It feels great just to walk into the clubhouse," Pujols said about arriving back to Jupiter Monday. "It just brings a lot of great memories."
At the end of the 2011 season, Pujols left St. Louis to sign a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. He returned to Busch Stadium twice as an opposing player but said the city never really left him.
"I felt like, yes, I might be wearing a different uniform, but I felt like I never left. I still have my foundation there, I still was coming to St. Louis to do a lot of my events through the Pujols Family Foundation. And the people still treated me the same way, whether I was wearing the Cardinals uniform or whether I was wearing the Angels or Dodgers. That's what's so special about Cardinals fans. They love you when you wear their uniform, but they still love you because you're a part of the organization," Pujols said.
Molina has announced 2022 will be his final season as well. Wainwright is on a one-year deal, but has not committed to 2022 being his final year in the Majors.
If Molina and Pujols both retire after 2022, they would be able to enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame together, if both are elected on their first eligible ballot.
As a member of the Angels and Dodgers last season, Pujols hit .236 with 17 home runs and 50 RBI. Against left-handed pitchers in 2021, Pujols hit .294 with an OPS of .939, 13 home runs and 34 RBI.
In his first 11 seasons in St. Louis, Pujols amassed one of the greatest starts to a career in MLB history.
He was the Rookie of the Year, a 3-time National League MVP, a 9-time All-Star, a 6-time Silver Slugger, a 2-time Gold Glover and a 2-time World Series champion.
His 679 career home runs are the fifth-most in the history of baseball. With 21 more he would join Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth in the 700 home run club.
MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports that Pujols' deal for 2022 is worth $2.5 million, with multiple incentives worked in.