Juan Rivera made his second straight start at first base for the Angels and manager Mike Scioscia said he’s happy with how his outfielder played in his debut and may be sticking with him at first if he continues to feel comfortable.
“He looked fine,” Scioscia said. “There’s going to be plays he’s going to be a little rough on just because of the experience at first, but handling himself and handling his throws, he was fine. He was a little in front of the bag, which is a tendency, but his actions were fine. It’s all part of game experience.”
Mike Napoli, who had been playing some first base, was inactive Monday and Scioscia said he preferred Rivera starting at first over Napoli because Rivera is more productive at the plate. Then again, that’s not saying much considering Rivera has only four hits in his last 24 at-bats.
“Nap wants to play and he has a terrific chance to play this year but obviously we’re looking for production and Juan has been a little more consistent at the plate recently and that’s what we’re looking at,” Scioscia said. “Juan’s been starting to drive the ball a little bit better. Mike’s struggled with guys in scoring position and he’s struggled with his walks. On the offensive side he’s driving the ball well, but Juan is a little more complete hitter right now.”
Scioscia, however, stopped short of saying Rivera was now the everyday starter at first base and Napoli would be relegated to the bench for the rest of the season.
“Both guys are going to get playing time there and we’ll see how Juan get’s acclimated there on the defensive side,” Scioscia said. “Coming off the bench is a different proposition for guys who are used to playing every day. Sometimes that’s where you need a guy to battle and put the ball in play. You try to make the best out of the situation and [Napoli] does.”