TEMPE, Ariz. — Raul Ibanez is 41. He has not started a major league game at first base since he was 32.
The Angels will start him at first base in Monday's Cactus League game against the San Francisco Giants. If Ibanez can handle the position, that would give Manager Mike Scioscia the option to use Albert Pujols as a designated hitter on occasion without affecting the everyday lineup.
"That's the goal, to have options on the offensive side to be strong every day," Scioscia said.
Ibanez, expected to be the Angels' regular designated hitter, played 100 games in the outfield for the Seattle Mariners last season, with 21 games at DH.
"He played left field virtually every day," Scioscia said. "I don't expect that to happen."
Ibanez has played 136 career games at first base, but he last played the position in 2010 and last started there on May 6, 2005.
The Mariners' starting pitcher that day was Jamie Moyer, then 42.
Pujols was excused from camp Monday to attend an event for his foundation in Chicago. He is expected to return Tuesday.
Josh Hamilton, who has been sidelined because of a strained calf, is set to make his Cactus League debut as the DH. Scioscia said Hamilton would get two or three at-bats.
The Angels also sent a split squad to Mesa for a game against the Chicago Cubs. Joe Blanton will try to make his case for the Angels to keep him, or for another team to trade for him.
Before the game, the Angels optioned infielders Tommy Field, Luis Jimenez and Efren Navarro and pitchers Buddy Boshers and Josh Wall to triple-A Salt Lake. Wall, who pitched briefly for the Dodgers last season, carried a Dodgers equipment bag as he left for minor league camp.
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