Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

Category: Howie Kendrick

Ethier, Kendrick come home as All-Stars

Lo6zz9nc The All-Star game represents a homecoming for the Dodgers' Andre Ethier and the Angels' Howie Kendrick.

Ethier grew up in Phoenix, graduating from St. Mary's High, about four blocks from Chase Field. And Kendrick makes his off-season home in Arizona, where much of his wife's family lives.

"It’s unbelievable," said Ethier, named to the National League team as a late replacement for the Phillies' Shane Victorino.  "I made my major league debut here. And now the first All-Star game -- the only All-Star game that’s ever been here in Arizona -– I happen to be in the major leagues and . . .  playing good enough to be in it."

Ethier, who can be moody at times, never stopped grinning during the NL's 50-minute session with the media Monday.

"I smile a lot when I'm in my backyard playing Whiffle ball with my kids. This is my backyard," he said. "I grew up two miles from the ballpark. I grew up right in this area. It’s awesome to be here and be a part of this."

Kendrick, voted onto the American League team by his peers, said former Angel Tim Salmon advised him to take time to enjoy the event.

"He said, 'Make sure you take a lot of pictures,' " Kendrick said. "It’s definitely something that I get to enjoy with a lot of people that I love. And I'm happy that they’re going to be able to experience it with me."

ALSO:

Who are the three greatest catchers in Angels history?

Gene Autry to be inducted into Angels Hall of Fame on July 19

--Kevin Baxter in Phoenix

Photo: American League All-Star Howie Kendrick #47 of the Los Angeles Angels. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

Angels' Vernon Wells, Howie Kendrick making progress

Kendrick-wells_325 The return of Vernon Wells and Howie Kendrick from the disabled list could happen sooner rather than later judging by the way the two players looked during pregame drills Monday. Both players ran and performed agility drills Monday morning, then hit during batting practice a couple of hours later.

Kendrick, on the DL with a right hamstring strain, is eligible to be reactivated this weekend. Wells, out since May 10 with a right groin strain, is scheduled to continue working out in Kansas City the next two days before being reevaluated. Manager Mike Scioscia said Wells with need a short minor-league rehab assignment before he's ready to return.

A strong wind is blowing out to left field at Kauffman Stadium, evidenced by the long batting practice home runs hit by the Angels' Peter Bourjos.

The lineups

Angels

2B -- Maicer Izturis

SS -- Erick Aybar

LF -- Bobby Abreu

RF -- Torii Hunter

3B -- Alberto Callaspo

DH -- Russell Branyan

1B -- Mark Trumbo

C -- Hank Conger

CF -- Peter Bourjos

P -- Ervin Santana

Continue reading »

For Angels' Kendrick, there's no place like home

Lj0b5hnc The Angels have a number of players with Florida ties, including catchers Jeff Mathis, a two-sport high school star in the Florida panhandle, and Bobby Wilson, who was born and raised in the metropolitan Tampa area.

But no one was more eager to return home than second baseman Howie Kendrick, who hails from Jacksonville. That's because Kendrick ranks first all-time against Rays opponents with a .440 average, a .491 on-base percentage and .710 slugging percentage. And he's hitting a team-best .364 against Friday's starter, All-Star lefty David Price.

Not so successful against the Rays has been Friday's Angel starter Ervin Santana. Winless on the season, the right-hander is 1-4 with a 7.36 ERA in seven career starts at Tropicana Field. His problems this season have mainly come in the later innings. He has a 2.25 ERA and a .214 batting average against in the first four innings this April but those figures balloon to 10.66 and .383 from the fifth inning on.

RELATED:

Angels' Bourjos first again at last

Takahashi and Matsui give Japanese reporters good local angle

-- Kevin Baxter in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Photo: Los Angeles Angels second basemen Howie Kendrick. Credit: Peter G. Aiken / US Presswire

Angels' Mark Trumbo getting a chance to make his case

After a rare day off, Angels rookie Mark Trumbo is back in the lineup for Sunday afternoon's Cactus League exhibition with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

With regular first baseman Kendry Morales still rehabbing the ankle he broke last May, Trumbo is getting an extended opportunity to show what he can do. The slugger, who tied for the minor league lead with 36 home runs last season, has played in seven of the Angels' eight spring training games and tops the team in at-bats (18) and virtually every other significant offensive category including homers (2), RBIs (4), total bases (13) and slugging (.722). He is also hitting .278 and is tied with Howie Kendrick for the team lead in hits (5).

On the down side, however, he's struck out in a third of his at-bats and made the team's first error of the spring.

After losing to former bench coach Ron Roenicke's Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday, the Angels face another old friend Sunday in left-hander Joe Saunders, whom the Angels traded to Arizona last July to get Dan Haren. Here's the lineup he'll face:

SS -- Erick Aybar

DH -- Bobby Abreu

RF -- Torii Hunter

LF -- Vernon Wells

2B -- Howie Kendrick

3B -- Maicer Izturis

1B -- Mark Trumbo

C -- Jeff Mathis

CF -- Peter Bourjos

P -- Jered Weaver

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.

Howie Kendrick improving on offense, defense

Howie Kendrick, like most of the Angels' hitters, struggled at times last season en route to hitting .279 in 158 games, the lowest average of his big-league career. But he also committed a career-high 10 errors. And improving his play on defense has become as much as a priority this spring as has his hitting.

"If you’re playing defense you want to make sure nobody gets a hit. Especially on your side of the field," he said. "If I don’t get any hits that day, I'm trying to take away some hits. If you look at it like that, it’s a competition. We go out and compete and do our best every day and if we turn a lot of double plays, that’s definitely huge for our team."

Through the first week of Cactus League play, Kendrick appears to have made strides on both sides of the ball. At the plate, he was hitting .333 with just one strikeout entering Friday's contest with the Chicago White Sox. And on defense he's helped the Angels turn an American League-leading eight double plays while committing just one error (also best in the league).

"We’ve been getting a lot of ground-ball work. A lot of guys have been working hard," Kendrick said. "And that shows once you take it out to the field. It’s not like we really went out and [said], 'Oh, we have to really dramatically change our defense.' We just want to get better. I feel like this spring we got better. And continue to get better.

"The game’s all about learning. Not only offensively but defensively. The more outs we can get, infield and outfield, that helps our chances of winning. If we can make fewer mistakes, be clean on defense, and let our offense work [it] gives our pitchers the best chance possible."

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video


About the Reporters
Sports Now is written by the entire Sports department of the L.A. Times.



Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.

Categories


Archives
 


Bleacher Report | Los Angeles

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More on Bleacher Report »




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: