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 announce Anthony Iapoce as new hitting coach

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The Cubs announced on Monday afternoon that Anthony Iapoce will take over as the new hitting coach.

Chili Davis was fired as the Cubs’ hitting coach last week. As noted, the Cubs’ offense regressed in a few areas, notably in the power department. Additionally, the offense in general waned as the season went on, which opened up the door for the Brewers to challenge for the NL Central title.

Iapoce, 45, spent the last three years as the Rangers’ hitting coach. The Cubs point out that the Rangers’ offense made great strides in 2017 thanks in part to Iapoce. They are no doubt hoping he can bring the same magic to Chicago. Iapoce was the Cubs’ special assistant to the GM for the three seasons before joining the Rangers.

Though he never made it to the majors, Iapoce did spend time in the Brewers’ minor league system from 1994-2003 and another two in the independent Northern League in 2004-05.