Pujols at third base to keep Morales in lineup

Pujols at third base to keep Morales in lineup

Pujols at third base to keep Morales in lineup
DENVER -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia feigned disbelief:

"[Albert] Pujols is playing third?" Scioscia said when asked about his lineup for Friday night's game against the Rockies.

Pujols has played 2 2/3 innings at the hot corner this season. He played there, along with the outfield, as a rookie with the Cardinals in 2001. But in the 1,333 games Pujols has started, only 93 have been at third, and he hasn't seen extensive action there since '02. As unusual as it might be to see No. 5 on the other side of the diamond, it's an Interleague reality for a team stocked with sluggers but without the option of a designated-hitter slot.

Pujols will slide to third base so the Angels can keep Kendrys Morales -- the usual DH -- in the lineup. Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo, who split time at third, are not starting.

In their only previous DH-less situation this season, a series at San Diego, the Angels went 1-2. Morales received two at-bats in the three games.

"In San Diego, we didn't have a chance to get Kendrys' bat in the lineup as much as we wanted to," Scioscia said. "But he's been working very hard at first base, and he's ready to go on the defensive end. Albert has been working hard at [third] and he's very comfortable. We'll see how we do."

Over the past 14 games heading into Friday, Morales is hitting .321 (17-53) with four homers and 12 RBIs.