Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto described Albert Pujols’ recent right-knee surgery as “a very minor procedure,” adding that he expects the first baseman to be “back at full strength” within a month or so.

“It was a cleanup, nothing significant, kind of a blip on the radar,” Dipoto said Thursday of the operation, which was performed on Oct. 9 in St. Louis. “We knew he was playing through pain, he took care of it and is good to go. I’ve spoken with him since, and he feels great.”

Pujols, who signed a 10-year, $240-million contract with the Angels in December, tweaked the knee and injured his right calf while sliding awkwardly into second base against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park on Aug. 22.

Pujols missed the next four games and was relegated to designated hitter for 24 of the team’s final 34 games, hitting .291 with two home runs, 16 doubles and 19 runs batted in during that span. He finished the season with a .285 average, 30 homers, 50 doubles and a team-leading 105 RBIs.

“We’ll never know how much pain he was in because this guy is incredibly tough, mentally and physically, and he doesn’t say much,” Dipoto said. “But it was pretty evident over the last six weeks that he was hobbled to a degree. Still, he did an incredible job of producing. I’d like to see him play without the pain.”,917648.story