THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Slumping second baseman Howie Kendrick of the Los Angeles Angels was optioned to triple-A Salt Lake following Friday night’s 11-6 victory over the San Diego Padres.
The four-year veteran is batting .231 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 51 games. Kendrick was replaced in the starting lineup by Maicer Izturis, who went 4-for-4.
"We feel it’s time for Howie to go down and just take a little pressure off of him, let him exhale a little bit, get some at-bats and find his swing," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Hopefully it’s going to be a big turnaround, but it’s tough to search for it up here. I know he’s pressing."
Injuries have plagued the four-year veteran since he replaced 2002 ALCS MVP Adam Kennedy as the Angels’ regular second baseman. Kendrick had two stints on the disabled list last season because of left hamstring problems, and batted .322 in 88 games. The previous year, he had two stints on the DL because of broken fingers on his left hand, and batted .306 in 92 games.
"We’re trying to win games here, and if they need to make a move, I’m OK with that," Kendrick said. "You never want to hear this type of news, but it could be a positive. I’ll go down and try to find myself, start attacking balls in the zone and be the same hitter I was. Hopefully, this will be a reality check for me. Sometimes we make this game harder than it is, and that’s what I’m doing right now."
The mood in the clubhouse was quiet despite the victory because of Kendrick’s departure. Centre-fielder Torii Hunter, whose locker is right next to his, spoke with him privately before they both addressed reporters separately.
"I just talked to him about my experiences getting sent down in 1997 and ’98," Hunter said. "Every time I got sent down, I got upset and got a little more fire because I wanted to get back to the major leagues to stay. And that’s what he’s going to do. This can’t do anything but hopefully tick him off and give him a lot more fire."
A corresponding roster move will be made before Saturday night’s game.