Rodriguez spells Kendrick
Backup infielder fills in for struggling second baseman
ST. PETERSBURG -- Howie Kendrick, batting just .117 on the Angels' current road trip with two hits in five games, was given Wednesday night off as his team wrapped up a three-game series with the sizzling Rays at Tropicana Field.
"I need to have a little talk with my bat," Kendrick said, grinning.
Taking over at second base was Sean Rodriguez, who flourished defensively while Kendrick was sidelined earlier in the season with a left hamstring strain. The Angels went 14-7 with Rodriguez in the starting lineup, though he hit .185 with a homer and three RBIs.
"One thing we learned about Sean," manager Mike Scioscia said, "was that even though he wasn't swinging the bat as well as we know he can, he has the ability to keep his head in the game. He won some games for us with his glove. In Toronto, the way he played second base was off the charts.
"We're comfortable this guy can handle himself at the big league level. We're excited about his talent. He's multi-dimensional [offensively]. He can get a bunt down, and he's got power, too."
Rodriguez, Erick Aybar's primary backup at shortstop with Maicer Izturis out for the season, showed his pop at Triple-A Salt Lake with a recent assault on Pacific Coast League pitching. Before being called up to the Majors on Aug. 9, Rodriguez had a team-high .645 slugging percentage with 21 homers and 52 RBIs in 66 games.
As for Kendrick, whose average has fallen to .312, Scioscia said he was due for a day off.
"He's played a lot of baseball" without a break, Scioscia said. "It'll be good for him to let his body regroup a little bit and watch a game."
Since being sidelined from April 14 to May 30 with a strained left hamstring, Kendrick has committed only one error in his past 64 games after making three errors in his first 15 games.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.