Hendry addresses ballyhooed Pujols hug

Hendry addresses ballyhooed Pujols hug

CHICAGO -- Cubs general manager Jim Hendry may stick to giving players a pat on the back or a discrete wink from now on.

Hendry and Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols exchanged a hug prior to Tuesday night's game at Wrigley Field, and it created a frenzy. Pujols is a free agent after this season, and the Cubs' current first baseman, Carlos Pena, only has a one-year deal.

The two discussed their families, not future contracts.

"I have a good relationship with Albert," Hendry said Wednesday. "That's not going to change. We'd have that if he wasn't the best player in the world."

Hendry said he knew his friendly gesture would be misinterpreted. He's said since March, when Pujols ended contract extension talks with the Cardinals, that he would treat the three-time National League Most Valuable Player the same.

"I told you guys in Spring Training I wouldn't be any different to him than I have been in the last eight, nine years," Hendry said. "He's a great guy, a great player."

Pujols told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the hubbub over his hug was "ridiculous."

Maybe Hendry will just shake hands now? The general manager just laughed.