Pujols to man hot corner vs. Rox, Dodgers

Pujols to man hot corner vs. Rox, Dodgers

Pujols to man hot corner vs. Rox, Dodgers
ANAHEIM -- Interleague Play continues this weekend. For the Angels, that means the beginning of a new, albeit brief, experiment.

The Angels have six straight road games coming up against National League teams, in Colorado and Los Angeles, and the last thing manager Mike Scioscia wants to do is relegate designated hitter Kendrys Morales to bench duty for that entire time. So, against the Rockies and Dodgers, Morales can expect to see time at first base, with Albert Pujols transitioning to third.

For Morales, it will mark a return to a position he hasn't played since shattering his left ankle in May 2010.

And for Pujols -- who came up as a shortstop, has played plenty of outfield and spent some time at third base as recently as last year -- moving around is nothing all that new.

"I remember I used to carry four gloves with me -- middle infield, first base, third base and an outfield glove," said Pujols, who spent 96 games at the hot corner during his first two years in the Majors and made seven appearances there last year, while David Freese was hurt.

"It doesn't make any difference to me. I was a shortstop. My dad and everybody said, 'If you can play shortstop, you can play any position.' So I don't have any problem playing [third base]."

It was Pujols who volunteered to move across the diamond against NL opponents so that Morales can find his way into the lineup. Scioscia believes Morales is "moving well enough to handle a position," but probably won't start him there more than twice over the next week.

"I don't think it's something you really want to overplay right now," Scioscia said, "but you don't want him sitting for six days."

"It's going to be my first game there in more than two years," Morales added in Spanish, "but I'm mentally and physically ready for it if they need me there."

Morales has been getting work at first base for a little over a month now, fielding grounders, covering the bag and starting double plays during batting practice. The Angels stayed away from any defensive work during Spring Training, preferring that he just worry about getting his timing back in the batter's box since Pujols was going to play first base every day.

But adjusting to a DH role, at age 28, presented a challenge in itself.

"That's hard," said Morales, who has undergone two ankle surgeries. "I'm still pretty young. It's not easy to get used to something like that when you're used to playing every day. But with time, you can adjust to anything."