ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia talked at length about the job Rays manager Joe Maddon, his bench coach in Anaheim from 2000-05, has done in Tampa Bay.

Maddon, who took the Rays to the World Series in 2008, has his club in contention yet again. The Rays entered Monday one game behind the Yankees in the American League East and 5 1/2 games up in the AL Wild Card.

Scioscia could also be in danger of losing his first season series to one of his protégés, as he is 5-0 in all-time season series against Padres manager Bud Black (1-0) and Maddon (4-0). The Angels are 1-2 against the Rays this season with six games remaining, but Scioscia isn't worried about going head-to-head with Maddon, whom he considers a close friend.

"I don't know if manager against manager is really an issue," Scioscia said. "But seeing someone you have a close relationship with achieve so much definitely brings a great feeling to all of us to know how hard he's worked and the great job he's doing over there."

Halos' Rivera gets first start at first base

ANAHEIM -- The Angels turned to their ninth first baseman of the season on Monday with Juan Rivera getting his first career start at the position.

Rivera handled it well, too, as he made a nice defensive play on a hard-hit line drive with runners at second and third to save a run in the first inning and went 2-for-4 with a double in the Angels' 4-3 loss to the Rays.

Rivera, who played two innings at first base in 2008 for his only big league action at the position, had been fielding ground balls recently and was familiar with first base because he played there during Spring Training.

"He took ground balls at first base for much of last season and he's done it for the last couple days to keep him acclimated," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "And with [Scott] Kazmir, there's not a lot of action on the first-base side, so it might be a game where we can break him in and get him comfortable."

Rivera, who used Howard Kendrick's glove, said he was fine with the move to first base because it gave him playing time even though he doesn't know if the move is permanent.

"It's an opportunity to get some more at-bats, that's the way I see it," Rivera said through a translator. "I'm happy that they at least presented that option. [Scioscia] hasn't said anything about [playing time], but I hope to do really well so there's no question I can earn some more playing time there by playing well."

Injured Halos righty Pineiro plays long toss

ANAHEIM -- Angels right-hander Joel Pineiro, who has been sidelined with a strained oblique since going on the disabled list on July 29, threw long toss at Angel Stadium on Monday as part of his rehab process.

Pineiro, who already played catch at 60 feet on Saturday, threw from 150-160 feet on Monday and is expected to begin throwing off a mound once he reaches 200 feet.

"He feels good," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll keep going forward until he goes out to 200 feet and then we'll evaluate him then."

With off-day, Angels could skip Bell's turn

ANAHEIM -- The Angels are still deciding whether they will skip Trevor Bell in the rotation with Thursday's off-day, according to manager Mike Scioscia.

Bell, who is 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA in his four starts this season, could be pushed back in favor of Jered Weaver on Wednesday or the Angels could opt to give extra rest to Weaver and the rest of the rotation.

"We're looking at a couple of things," Scioscia said. "We have the option to skip him or give guys a couple of days rest. So we'll make that determine in the next couple of days."