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Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols may be nearing his 42nd birthday and a date with free agency, but it doesn't appear that he's ready to retire just yet. Rather, Pujols will be heading to the Dominican Republic to partake in winter ball for the first time.

Pujols, who reported for duty as part of the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League (or LIDOM for short) on Friday, was involved in a trade on Thursday. Leones del Escogido acquired his rights from the Gigantes del Cibao in exchange for a pair of former big-league players, in Melky Mesa and Edward Paredes.

"Bringing Pujols to local ball is an organization-wide effort for the good of our baseball, and a show of everyone's commitment in this centennial year," Leones general manager Jose Gomez Frias said in a statement, according to TSN. "His immediate presence on and off the field will help us to be a better team."

Big-league-caliber players tend to partake in LIDOM (and similar leagues) for the purposes of staying sharp and/or auditioning for future employers. For Pujols, playing in winter ball indicates he intends to continue playing next season.

"I've always said that I'm going to retire when I feel it's time. I don't think that my time has come yet," he told reporters after reporting to winter ball, according to MLB.com's Juan Toribio.  

Pujols proved he still had something in the tank during an 85-game run with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. He hit .254/.299/.460 (101 OPS+) in a part-time role after being released by the Los Angeles Angels earlier in the year. Pujols had batted just .198/.250/.372 (67 OPS+) in 24 games with the Angels prior to being cut.

It stands to reason that Pujols' employment chances will be aided if the National League adapts the designated hitter as part of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. Otherwise, he might struggle to find an opportunity as a right-handed hitter with limited defensive or positional value. 

Pujols' participation isn't the only notable development for LIDOM. Earlier this week, the league announced that its games will be broadcast as part of MLB.TV.