Albert Pujols says he no longer wants his 2,000th RBI baseball

Ely Hydes, the man who retrieved Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols’ historic home run but planned to keep it, changed his mind Friday and now says he would like to return the ball to Pujols or give it to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Well, Pujols has changed his mind, too, and now doesn’t want the baseball that represents his 2,000th RBI.

“I don’t want it, brother,’’ Pujols told USA TODAY Sports. “He can keep it. He had a chance to give it to me (Thursday), and he declined. That’s fine. It’s his right.

“So, no need for him to change his mind now.

“Let him keep it.’’

Hydes, who told reporters Thursday that he planned to keep the ball himself, or possibly give it to his brother, told the Detroit News on Friday that he no longer wants it, either.

Opinion: Who is the 'rightful' owner of Albert Pujols' milestone ball, Pujols or the fan?

“I slept on it," Hydes told the The Detroit News. “All I ever wanted was to sleep on it. I slept on it and I woke up and I think (Pujols) is a class act.

“He's not my player, he's not my guy, I don't deserve the ball. I reconsidered. 100%. I'm either going to give it to Pujols or to the Hall of Fame.

“I don't want any money.’’

Well, Pujols certainly wasn’t going to pay for it, and a day later, with no guarantee the ball is the actual one he hit for the homer, said he is no longer interested.

“If he doesn’t want the ball,’’ Pujols said, “he can give the ball to Cooperstown. Hopefully then, everyone will be happy.

“But I don’t want it. He deserves it. It’s his decision.’’

Albert Pujols celebrates after hitting a home run for his 2,000th career RBI. (Photo: Rick Osentoski, USA TODAY Sports)

Hydes told reporters that he originally declined to give the ball to Pujols because he felt pressured by the Tigers’ security staff, rejecting offers to meet with Pujols, or be given other memorabilia, such as autographed items from Angels All-Star Mike Trout and Tigers star Miguel Cabrera.

The Tigers steadfastly disputed Hydes’ allegations.

“We spoke with members from the Comerica Park operations and security staffs that had contact with the guest, and we have no doubt that our staff conducted themselves in a professional manner when speaking with the guest,’’ Tigers vice president Ron Colangelo said in an email to USA TODAY Sports and other Detroit outlets. “After generous offers of both Angels and Tigers autographed memorabilia, including a meet-and-greet with Albert Pujols, our staff informed the guest that a decision needed to be reached as the Angels would be leaving the ballpark soon after the game ended.

“The guest decided he wanted to keep the ball, and our staff left the area.’’

Now, it’s up to the Hall of Fame whether it even wants the baseball, considering the ball was never authenticated.

The drama continues.

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