Kubitza may add second base to repertoire

Kubitza may add second base to repertoire

ANAHEIM -- Third baseman Kyle Kubitza, the Angels' No. 9 prospect, walked into manager Mike Scioscia's office on Tuesday afternoon and was hit with a surprising question: Have you ever played second base?

The answer was no, at least not since Little League, but the Angels will work him out there anyway.

Prior to the second of a three-game series against the Dodgers, Kubitza took ground balls at second base under the tutelage of infield coach Alfredo Griffin. The 25-year-old won't appear there in a game this season, but the Angels would like to see if he can be an option for them at second base down the road.

"It's crazy," said Kubitza, added Tuesday alongside outfielder Dan Robertson to conclude the Angels' September callups. "My whole life I grew up playing infield, whether it was second, short, third, first. I played there probably when I was really young. It's one of those things. You get used to it. The hardest thing is I've been playing on the left side of the infield for so long, to get back to the right side is going to be a little work. But it's something I can definitely work on and I feel I can do."

The Angels traded a valued pitching prospect -- then-17-year-old Ricardo Sanchez -- to acquire Kubitza from the Braves last offseason because they needed a third baseman who could potentially take over after the 2015 season, when David Freese becomes eligible for free agency.

But former top prospect Kaleb Cowart has resurrected his career, now appearing to be the more favorable option if Freese doesn't return. And the Angels are trying to tap into some versatility with Kubitza, who also spent some time as a left fielder in Triple-A.

"It's going to be a process," Scioscia said, "but you have to start somewhere. He's going to work out at second; we'll just see where it leads long term. We still view him as a candidate to be an everyday third baseman, but it's not going to hurt him to be able to play second base."

Kubitza will play winter ball for the Licey Tigers of the Dominican Republic, but he plans to play third base there. Adjusting to the right side of the infield will be tough, but an even bigger obstacle could be turning double plays with a 6-foot-3 frame.

"That was the main question," Kubitza said. "Sometimes you get slower. It's something just to work on, figure out a way to make it quicker, make the turn a little easier."

Worth noting

• An MRI exam on Albert Pujols' right foot revealed only inflammation, and Pujols said he's been getting better since starting a different course of treatment on Monday. The 35-year-old hopes to play first base later this week, perhaps coming off Thursday's off-day. Pujols said it's "something where hopefully I wake up one day and it's gone." The Angels previously thought Pujols would be limited to DH for the remainder of the season.

• Scioscia is one of many who would like to tweak the current rule of expanded rosters, which allows teams to carry everyone on their 40-man roster after Sept. 1. Scioscia would propose locking in your 25-man roster before Sept. 1, then being able to activate five additional players for any given day so teams never have more than 30 active. The Angels used a franchise-record nine pitchers on Monday night.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.