Tag:Howie Kendrick
Posted on: May 13, 2011 1:03 pm
 

Without Kendrys, Angels lean on Kendrick

Well, that sure went pffft in a hurry at the Big A.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia last Dec. 7: "We fully anticipate Kendrys Morales back doing what he wants to, or what he can do."

Angels orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum on May 11: "Kendrys worked as hard as any athlete I've ever worked with in coming back from a devastating injury, and he hasn't been able to do it."

So, to review how this week has gone for the Angels: Morales to the surgeon's table (again), and Vernon Wells to the disabled list (groin). Groan, and grin. What are you going to do? Especially with a big weekend series coming up in Texas.

For now, in a move reminiscent of Chone Figgins' versatility, Howard Kendrick is grabbing his outfield glove.

After Wells left in the fourth inning Monday, Kendrick started each of the next two games in left field.

Total major-league time in the outfield for Kendrick since 2006 until now: Two-thirds of an inning, in center field, last year. Mostly, Kendrick has played second base for the Angels, with some first base mixed in.

"There's no question he can move around," Scioscia says. "Howie's a terrific athlete. He has the speed to play center field. Outfield is a great option for a guy with his athleticism."

The overriding factor is that the Angels want to make sure Kendrick's bat stays in the lineup. He's hitting .320 through the first 38 games, with a .381 on-base percentage. Torii Hunter has been predicting for years that Kendrick one day will win a batting title. Until now, nobody ever figured it could be as an outfielder.

But while Morales is out for the season, the Angels do not expect Wells to be out much more than a couple of weeks. So don't get any ideas about Kendrick permanently moving to the outfield.

"We're doing this purely on a need basis," Scioscia says. "He shags balls, he's fine tracking the ball, he runs good routes ... I don't think it's too far removed to ask a player to do what he's doing."

-- Kendrick's move is a little like that of the Twins' Michael Cuddyer in reverse. When Orlando Hudson went down last year, manager Ron Gardenhire for a time moved Cuddyer, a former high school shortstop, from right field to second base.

-- Three key young players playing unexpected pivotal roles for the Angels each was drafted under Eddie Bane, who was fired as the Angels' director of scouting last fall: Pitcher Tyler Chatwood (second round, 2008), first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo (18th round, 2004) and catcher Hank Conger (first round, 2006). Also chosen under Bane: Mike Trout, currently at Double-A Arkansas and listed by Baseball America as the game's second-best prospect. Just sayin'.

-- Talk to me about that Giants' pitching: Look who's back in first place in the NL West following a picture-perfect homestand in which they swept division rivals Colorado (three games) and Arizona (three more). And as is always the case with San Francisco, the prime reasons for the surge are cats named Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, etc. In making their move this week, the Giants, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, became the first team in major league history to sweep a homestand of six-or-more games without scoring more than four runs in any game.

-- Most stunning statistic of the year: Tampa Bay through midweek had the best bullpen in the American League based on its league-leading 2.71 ERA (fourth-best in the majors). For a team that was forced to replace seven of its top eighth relievers from 2010 over the winter (based on innings pitched), you sure couldn't tell.

-- The flip side of that preceding Rays' bullpen statistic, though, is this: As it so often is with good bullpens, no small part of the Rays' success can be attributed to a knockout rotation that works deep into games and does not overtax the relievers. While the Rays' bullpen ERA is the AL's best, their 93 innings pitched are the fewest of any big league bullpen.

-- A few more things on this crazy White Sox six-man rotation: Pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Ozzie Guillen have instructed the four starters not named Mark Buehrle or Jake Peavy -- that would be John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Edwin Jackson and Phil Humber -- to be prepared to work out of the bullpen, if needed, on the second and third days after their starts. "We don't want to use them, and we'll try not to use them," Cooper says.

-- Another benefit, from the Sox's view, of the six-man rotation: "If one of them is at seven innings and 95 pitches, he can go back out there because he'll have an extra day [before his next start]," Cooper says. The pitching coach also has delivered a pre-emptive strike against any moaning by someone claiming to be thrown off rhythm after a loss: He's told each of his starters that "the only people who have a right to be thrown out of whack by this are the opposing hitters, not us."

-- One side benefit of Jake Peavy's last minor-league rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte, at Toledo, last week: He was able to share a beer and catch up with ex-teammate Phil Nevin following the game. Nevin is managing the Mud Hens.

-- Cool promotion of the year: Farmer John, which makes Dodger Dogs, is donating 30,000 pounds of food to local food banks on the heels of Andre Ethier's 30-game hitting streak. Farmer John already is donating 1,000 pounds of food for every Ethier homer this year.

-- News that Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew has entered hospice care and is in the final days of his treatment for cancer is a blow. Killebrew is one of the game's true gentlemen, just a prince of a man who means so much to the Twins family. Prayers for him and family on this incredibly sad weekend.

Likes: The Orioles continue to show grit under manager Buck Showalter. Thursday night's win over Seattle was a terrific game, scoreless into the 12th, and it was one the old Orioles would have lost when the Mariners scored in the top of the 12th. ... Who is this Carlos Beltran man who slugged three homers the other day? ... SiriusXM radio and the MLB package. So cool to be able to listen to every game and each team's broadcasting crew. ... Steve Earle on Treme last week. ... The Cars on tour beginning Thursday night in Los Angeles. What the heck, as long as Ric Ocasek is along for the ride. ...

Dislikes: Ernie Harwell, Sparky Anderson, and now Harmon Killebrew says he is in his final days. We've lost some really special people over the past year, some all-time nice guys.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"As time wore on you proved
"A debt-ridden drunken mess
"Leaving my mother
"A poor consumptive wretch
"And then you disappeared
"Your gambling arrears
"The only thing you left behind
"And then the magistrate
"Reclaimed our small estate
"And my poor mother lost her mind"

-- The Decemberists, The Mariner's Revenge Song

Posted on: August 29, 2008 11:08 pm
 

Angels inquire about Vizquel, McDonald, others

Bitten by multiple injuries and still shuddering at the memory of losing a handful of key players last October, the Los Angeles Angels continue casting about for a proven, veteran shortstop before Sunday's midnight EDT trade deadline.

Among the possibilities that the Angels seem most interested in, according to sources: San Francisco's Omar Vizquel and Toronto's John McDonald.

Also on the list, but not believed to be in the top tier with Vizquel and McDonald, are Toronto's David Eckstein and Marco Scutaro and Baltimore's Juan Castro.

The need has arisen in the wake of shortstop Maicer Izturis' season-ending thumb injury, shortstop Erick Aybar's tight left hamstring and second baseman Howie Kendrick's strained left hamstring.

The urgency has arrived because players acquired after Sunday evening's deadline are not eligible for postseason rosters.

"I don't know if I'd term it 'urgent'," general manager Tony Reagins said Friday, declining to address specific names. "I'd term it 'actively pursuing.'

"With Aybar and Kendrick, we don't think it will be any longer than two weeks."

The Angels placed Kendrick on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, though he says that his hurting left hamstring isn't as severe as when he injured it in mid-April in Seattle. Then, he missed 42 games.

The Angels, who led the AL West by 16 games entering Friday's contest with Texas, are hopeful that Kendrick, batting .308 with a .334 on-base percentage, will return by mid-to-late September and be a threat during the playoffs. They also believe that Aybar will be ready to play sooner rather than later.

But they also believe adding depth is important at this point based in part on how easily Boston bounced them out of the playoffs last October.

Then, outfielder Gary Matthews missed all three games of the Red Sox's sweep with a bad knee, outfielder Garret Anderson struggled miserably while battling conjunctivitis, first baseman Casey Kotchman missed Game 3 when he had to be hospitalized with severe flu-like symptoms and pitcher Bartolo Colon's shoulder injury precluded the Angels from including him on their playoff roster.

"Right now, middle infield depth for our organization, there certainly is room to establish more depth," manager Mike Scioscia said.

Friday night, the Angels started rookie Brandon Wood (.118) at shortstop and rookie Sean Rodriguez (.154) at second base.

Maybe both men will begin to swing the bat better if they consistently stay in the lineup for the next two or three weeks while Aybar and Kendrick are sidelined.

But there's no way of predicting that, and it seems awfully long odds to play for a team that made a bold statement by acquiring slugger Mark Teixeira from Atlanta at the July 31 trade deadline.

It's clear that the Angels think they have a team that can win a World Series this year. And no matter how much they like, say, Wood -- he was rated as the organization's top prospect for 2008 by Baseball America -- they're not in position, this late in the season, to send guys out for a test drive.

The attraction to Vizquel, 41, is that he can still field very well (though his range has diminished with age) and he has significant playoff experience.

McDonald might be as good a shortstop as there is defensively, though he isn't a threat with the bat (.218). Scutaro was a valuable utilityman in Oakland before being traded to Toronto and can play all four infield positions. Two scouts this week said Eckstein is showing signs of age.

Castro also is a versatile middle infielder with a weak bat (.194 for Baltimore so far this season).

"Different things have been thrown about," Reagins said. "But for me, it has to make sense to us."

 

 
 
 
 
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