Pujols open to playing third in NL parks

Pujols open to playing third in NL parks

Pujols open to playing third in NL parks
SAN DIEGO -- It turns out the Angels may not need American League rules to get their three most dangerous hitters in the same lineup.

Albert Pujols can just man the hot corner again.

The Angels' $240 million first baseman approached manager Mike Scioscia recently to tell him he's open to playing third base, which would allow Mark Trumbo (as a corner outfielder) and Kendrys Morales (at first base) to also be in the lineup in National League parks.

"He feels very comfortable down there," Scioscia said. "We'll take a look at it and see."

The Angels' skipper said he's "a long way off" from using Pujols at the hot corner, and it won't happen during the weekend series against the Padres. But that flexibility could be key during a six-game road trip to Colorado and Los Angeles from June 8-13, with the Angels not having to sit Pujols to get Morales in the lineup.

"I think short term, a game or two, I don't think that would be a problem," Scioscia said. "I don't think it's something we would want to take an extended look at, but we'll see."

Pujols played third base almost exclusively in his only Minor League season in 2000 and totaled 96 games there in his first two seasons in the Majors. He also made seven appearances at the hot corner with the Cardinals last year and had been taking some grounders at third during batting practice recently -- granted, with his first-base mitt.

The key is Morales, though.

The Angels want to be cautious with the switch-hitter's workload defensively, considering he's still early in his first season back from two ankle surgeries and recently nursed a tight Achilles tendon around the same area. But the club also doesn't want to be without his bat for almost a week of Interleague Play.

"I don't think it's anything we're going to make a decision on right now," Scioscia said. "We're going to progress with Kendrys at first and see if it becomes anything that's a possibility later in the summer."