Howie Kendrick to start in LF for Angels Tuesday night
Howie Kendrick, who has never played the outfield in 10 professional seasons, will start in left field against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night in place Vernon Wells, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a right groin strain Monday night.
The more you listen to Manager Mike Scioscia talk about the move, the more it seems Kendrick, who has played second base and first base this season, will be playing a lot of left field while Wells is out.
"It gives our lineup a deeper look for a longer period of time," Scioscia said. "There are some real positives moving forward to this, until Vernon comes back."
By using Kendrick in left, Scioscia can play switch-hitters Maicer Izturis (second base) and Alberto Callaspo (third base) virtually every day and give Bobby Abreu more time at designated hitter than in the outfield. Mark Trumbo, who leads the team with six homers and 17 runs batted in, will also get more looks at first base.
Kendrick, who often shags balls in the outfield during early batting practice, worked with outfield coach Dino Ebel before batting practice Tuesday and got a better feel for how the ball comes off the bat during batting practice.
He seemed unfazed by the left-field assignment, which was reminiscent of a similar position switch he made in 2006, when the Angels asked Kendrick to move to first base in order to deepen the lineup. Kendrick has started 60 games at first base, where he has developed into a reliable defender.
"I had never played first base before I made that move, so I'm not going to stress about it," Kendrick said of the move to left field. "If I stressed about it, it would probably be worse. I'm just going to play, and the only way to get a feel for it is to play in a game. You can take all the reps you want in practice, but it's not the same."
The Angels lineup: SS Erick Aybar, DH Abreu, 2B Izturis, RF Torii Hunter, LF Kendrick, 3B Callaspo, 1B Trumbo, C Jeff Mathis, CF Peter Bourjos, P Joel Pineiro.
The White Sox lineup: LF Juan Pierre, SS Alexei Ramirez, DH Adam Dunn, 1B Paul Konerko, RF Carlos Quentin, C A.J. Pierzynski, CF Alex Rios, 2B Gordon Beckham, 3B Brent Morel, P John Danks.