Juan Rivera moves to first base after Angels re-align outfield


Juan Rivera made his first career start at first base Monday and manager Mike Scioscia said yesterday that he’ll split time there with Mike Napoli for the rest of the season.
Scioscia has used seven different players at first base since Kendry Morales went down for the season in May and Rivera is available for the switch because of Bobby Abreu moving to left field while Torii Hunter shifts to right field and rookie speedster Peter Bourjos takes over in center.
Napoli has done a decent job filling in for the injured Morales, hitting .255/.318/.446 with eight homers in 176 plate appearances at first base and because both he and Rivera are right-handed hitters a traditional platoon won’t work. Instead, when Rivera plays first base perhaps Scioscia will shift Napoli back behind the plate occasionally instead of Jeff Mathis, who’s hitting just .196.

Miguel Cabrera, Dee Gordon win AL and NL batting titles, respectively

Miguel Cabrera
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Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.

Report: Angels to announce Billy Eppler as new GM on Monday

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.

Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.

The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.