Bud Black said he expects Scioscia to remain with the Angels long after this… (Craig Lassig / EPA )
SAN DIEGO -- Bud Black was a member of Mike Scioscia's original coaching staff with the Angels. Three of those coaches ascended to managerial jobs — Black with the San Diego Padres, Joe Maddon with the Tampa Bay Rays and Ron Roenicke with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Never in Scioscia's 13 years had one of his coaches left involuntarily — until this week, that is. Hitting instructor Mickey Hatcher, another of Scioscia's original coaches, was fired by General Manager Jerry Dipoto.
"Your initial reaction is surprise," Black said. "But, as long as you're in this game, you realize anything can happen."
That a first-year general manager had overruled baseball's longest-tenured manager raised the question of whether Scioscia's job security could become tenuous.
Black speaks with Scioscia regularly and said he remains enthusiastic about his job. Black said he does not envision Scioscia in another uniform and said he expects him to remain the Angels' manager long after this emotional week is over.
"It's a great opportunity for Mike," Black said. "I see him there, as an Angel."
Pujols at third?
Albert Pujols volunteered to play third base during interleague games in National League parks, Scioscia said. That would allow the Angels to play Kendrys Morales at first base, because the designated hitter would not be available.
Scioscia said Pujols would not play third base during this weekend's series. The Angels play their remaining games in NL parks June 8-14, with three games in Colorado and three at Dodger Stadium.
With Pujols at first base, the Angels have struggled to fit Morales and Mark Trumbo into the lineup. However, Scioscia said the Angels have no plans to ask Pujols to consider a permanent switch to third base.
"Short-term, a game or two, I don't think that would be a problem," Scioscia said. "I don't think it's something we would take an extended look at."
Pujols played seven games at third base for theSt. Louis Cardinalslast season. Morales, who sat out almost two years after a broken leg and two surgeries, last played the field on May 29, 2010.
The Padres' starting second baseman Friday was Alexi Amarista, one of two prospects the Angels traded two weeks ago for reliever Ernesto Frieri.
The Padres called up Amarista on Thursday, and they are giving him a look at second base, but he might fit better as a utility player, especially in a league where the double switch is common. The 5-foot-4 Amarista is a contact hitter with speed, and he can play second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield positions.
"That versatility plays much better in the National League," Black said. "He is going to play a lot."
The Padres put Tim Stauffer on the disabled list and replaced him with former Dodger Eric Stults, who will start Saturday against the Angels. Stults, 32, joins his fifth organization in four years, including one year with Japan's Hiroshima Carp.