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WATCH: Albert Pujols receives standing ovation in St. Louis Cardinals return

Andrew Buller-Russ

The one they call “The Machine” has returned to the place where he became a nine-time All-Star, with Albert Pujols signing with the St. Louis Cardinals for another run at glory. After 10 seasons split between the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers, Pujols is back where he belongs, creating an emotional scene on baseball’s 2022 Opening Day.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates in town to take on the Cardinals, fans got their first chance to see Pujols in a Cardinals uniform during a regular season game since 2011.

Albert Pujols’ career accomplishments make him a first-ballot HOF candidate

Just listen to that crowd roar for the 10-time All-Star. Even though the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year may not be back to his top form, when he won three MVP awards in a Cardinals uniform, it’s not hard to be excited about Pujols being back in 2022.

After all, Pujols led the team to a World Series title in his 11th and final season in St. Louis. The city loves him, and even at the age of 42, Pujols represents a power threat with a disciplined eye at the plate. Pujols still hit 17 home runs across just 275 at-bats in 2021 with a strikeout rate of 15.7%. The future Hall-of-Famer hasn’t lost his swing or his patience.

No matter what, Pujols brings 21 years of experience to a Cardinals clubhouse hoping to surpass last season’s NL Wild Card run. We’ll see just how it pays off in 2022 as they navigate a 162-game schedule.

Related: MLB predictions 2022: Projecting MLB standings, regular season awards