Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 2/23/12
Reporting from Tempe, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols is the focal point of the Angels' 2012 marketing campaign, which kicked off in late January with 70 billboards throughout Southern California, 20 of which refer to the former St. Louis Cardinals star as "El Hombre," The Man. One little problem: Pujols would prefer not to be called "El Hombre." The slugger asked the St. Louis media and fans in 2010 to refrain from using the nickname because he felt it was disrespectful to Cardinals Hall of Fame member Stan "The Man" Musial, and those feelings have not changed now that Pujols is in Anaheim. "I feel the same way," Pujols said before Wednesday morning's workout in Tempe Diablo Stadium. "I had nothing to do with the billboards. They haven't talked to me about it." Would Pujols be OK with the Angels using the nickname in future campaigns? "I haven't made that decision, so I haven't talked to them about it," Pujols said, "but I prefer they not use that." The Angels did not consult with Pujols or his agent before launching the campaign, but Tim Mead, vice president of communications, and Robert Alvarado, vice president of marketing and ticket sales, said the team does not normally seek approval from players about how they will be portrayed in ads. "I haven't experienced any resistance from players in the past about things like this," Alvarado said. "It's all complimentary." Mead added that "El Hombre" has a different meaning to fans in Southern California than it does in St. Louis. "His sentiments in St. Louis were out of respect and deference to someone else," Mead said. "He was saying, 'I'm not The Man, Stan Musial is.' We're marketing Albert Pujols, Angels baseball. I think there's a tremendous difference in context." However, Pujols said he respected Musial not just for his accomplishments on the field but for what he has done for his country. Musial, a three-time National League most valuable player who had 3,630 hits, served in the Navy during World War II and last February was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his lifetime of achievement and service. "That's something you have to appreciate," said Pujols, who during his 11 years in St. Louis developed a close relationship with Musial. If Pujols' feathers were ruffled, they shouldn't be for long. The billboards, which cost the Angels 200,000 to lease, will come down in late March after a two-month run. "That's typically our media strategy," Alvarado said. "We do a lot to gear up on the front end of the year to create a lot of buzz. Once the season starts, the buzz is created on the field." Alvarado also said the team would check with Pujols before using him in future marketing efforts. "I'm sure there will be a conversation between Tim and Angels President John Carpino and Albert and his team," Alvarado said, "and we can see how they want to proceed." Mike Scioscia addresses Bobby Abreu issue Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said he does not expect Bobby Abreu to be a distraction in camp, even though the veteran outfielder told an ESPNdeportes.com reporter he would prefer to be traded if he doesn't have an everyday role. "You don't get too many guys more professional than Bobby, so I don't anticipate that being an issue," Scioscia said Wednesday, a day after Abreu made his comments. "I think if there are some issues, I'm sure that his agent will work through them with Jerry Dipoto, Angels general manager. "Bobby fears he's going to be a bench guy who plays once a week," Scioscia said. "I definitely see him getting playing time and having value." Dipoto refused to be drawn into a back-and-forth exchange. "I'm not going to answer any questions other than to say we've discussed Bobby's circumstances with Bobby and his agent, Bobby has talked to Mike and I, and this is an internal matter," Dipoto said. Etc. The Angels signed relief pitcher Jason Isringhausen to a minor league contract. The right-hander, 39, appeared in 39 games for the New York Mets last season, posting a 3-3 record, a 4.05 earned-run average and seven saves in 11 chances. He has 300 saves, third among active pitchers.
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