GM Eppler expects Scioscia back next season

ANAHEIM -- Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Friday he has no reason to believe Mike Scioscia won't return as manager next season.

"I think he's done a great job," Eppler said before the Angels opened a three-game series against the Yankees. "He's dealt with multiple plates full of adversity and handled them with energy, passion. He's kept the guys who have stayed healthy all year optimistic, driven. I think that's the sign of a good leader."

The Angels entered play Friday last in the American League West at 51-70. The Angels have been hit hard by injuries, with starting pitchers Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, Nick Tropeano and C.J. Wilson all out for the season. Of those four, only Richards was able to avoid season-ending surgery. Wilson did not pitch at all this year.

"You have to have horses to pull the cart," Eppler said, harking back to something he learned as a youngster from longtime NFL coach Ernie Zampese. "If your horses get hurt or can't pull the cart for a little while ... You have to have the horses to pull the cart. We can only do so much."

Scioscia is in his 17th season as manager of the Angels, and he's the longest-tenured manager in the Major Leagues. He signed a 10-year extension that runs through 2018 in January 2009.

"I have no reason to believe Mike wouldn't be here managing our team next season," Eppler said.

Of course, the decision ultimately belongs to owner Arte Moreno.

Scioscia, 57, is by far the most successful manager in Angels history.

Since taking over the position in 2000, eight years after his final season playing in the Majors, Scioscia has guided the franchise to its only World Series championship and six AL West titles, including five from 2004-09.

Entering Friday, Scioscia had 1,467 wins -- 24th most all-time -- and a .541 winning percentage.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Angels on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.