Mike Scioscia gets a vote of confidence from Albert Pujols

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Not many players have the stature to be giving out votes of confidence to the longest-tenured manager in baseball, but a future Hall of Famer with a $240 million contract is one of them.

With the Angels really struggling and speculation about Mike Scioscia’s job security starting to swirl Albert Pujols stuck up for his manager, telling Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com:

Sosh, he’s our head, and everybody goes to the head. He’s taking a lot of heat that he shouldn’t take. Us, the players–including myself–we’re not doing what we need to do. He writes the lineup, he makes decisions in the middle of the game, but at the end, he can’t pitch for us, he can’t play defense for us, he can’t hit for us. We need to take care of ourselves and do the things that we need to do to win.

All of which is reasonable, of course, but if in Pujols’ scenario a manager shouldn’t be blamed for players performing poorly then should a manager receive credit for players performing well? Obviously the answer is a resounding yes and in Scioscia’s case he has a pair of Manager of the Year awards to show for it.

Scioscia is signed through 2018, but the Angels haven’t made the playoffs since 2009 and currently only the Astros have a worse record among AL teams.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.