Mark Trumbo has never played third base in a professional game, majors or minors, so the Angels’ plans to use him at the hot corner this spring and perhaps regularly during the season raised the question of whether they might do the same with Albert Pujols.
Pujols, unlike Trumbo, actually has plenty of third base experience in the big leagues. He came up as a third baseman, played the position regularly during his first two seasons, and saw spot action there in seven games last season.
So might manager Mike Scioscia give him a look at third base, if only in an emergency situation to help clear the first base/corner outfield logjam? Nope. Scioscia told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that it’s not an option because he wouldn’t want to disrupt Pujols’ hitting.
For his part, Pujols indicated that he’d be willing to give third base a try if Scioscia wanted, saying:
If that’s the decision he has to make, I follow the orders. My job is here in the locker room. I don’t have the office. He’s the one who has the office and writes the lineup. It’s about winning, man.
So, to recap: Pujols would much rather play third base than be called “El Hombre.”
It seems fairly unlikely that Pujols would be worse than Trumbo at third base, but it’s equally unlikely that Pujols would actually be good there and Scioscia is probably smart not to mess with a $250 million investment.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.