ANAHEIM -- At the start of the fifth inning on Tuesday night, a vast majority of fans in Angel Stadium donned the red wrestling masks they'd been handed coming through the turnstiles, setting in process a Guinness World Record.
An official was on hand to certify the achievement after it reached the 10-minute mark, which was the original idea of Angels marketing associate John Rozak.
It shattered the existing mark of 250 people wearing costume masks at the same gathering.
There was a countdown in the crowd as the 10-minute barrier passed and masks came off thousands of heads. It occurred as Howard Kendrick was smacking his second double of the night, giving the Angels a 6-1 lead over the White Sox.
It became official at the end of the inning. Angels fans had, indeed, set the record.
Athletic Kendrick treks out to left field
ANAHEIM -- A big surprise was waiting for Howard Kendrick when he arrived in the Angels' clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon.
An infielder his entire professional career, leading American League second baseman defensively with no errors in 115 total chances, he discovered he'd be playing left field behind Joel Pineiro about five hours later against John Danks and the White Sox. Kendrick's first move was to borrow an outfielder's glove from nine-time Rawlings Gold Glove winner Torii Hunter, the Angels' right fielder.
"I haven't played out there since high school -- travel ball," Kendrick said, going back to his mid-teens in Jacksonville, Fla. "I've never played outfield in the Minor Leagues or Majors. But I never played first base until I got here [with the Angels in 2006], so it's not like I haven't had to adjust to something new before.
"I'm not going to stress about it. Just go out and play. I want to keep an open mind about it and see what I can do. I don't think they'd put me out there if they didn't think I could do it."
Kendrick is taking left in the absence of Vernon Wells, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a right groin strain, sustained in Monday night's loss to the White Sox. Kendrick has been the Angels' most consistently productive offensive weapon. He began the day tied for the American League lead with 75 total bases and was tied for third with 26 runs scored.
"We're going to tap into some of his athleticism and versatility," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's up for it. It might be a learning curve for Howie, but he's athletic. It has the potential to give us a deeper look in every game offensively. It will keep some bats in the lineup."
Scioscia gave young Alexi Amarista his first career start in left on Friday night against the Indians, and he responded with a brilliant catch behind Tyler Chatwood that factored into a 2-1 victory.Kendrick went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored to raise his average to .322 in the Angels' 6-2 victory on Tuesday. He played seven innings in left -- without having to make a play -- before moving to first base for the final two innings.
Scioscia: Wells injury not as bad as feared
ANAHEIM -- Vernon Wells' right groin strain apparently is not as severe as the Angels initially feared, according to manager Mike Scioscia. Wells was placed on the 15-day disabled list after he pulled up while leaving the batter's box in the fifth inning.
"There's no timetable," Scioscia said. "Vernon was examined today, had some tests done. We're a little relieved [in light of] where he was last night and what he felt. There's a strain there. Nothing is out of place. It doesn't require any kind of surgery. It just needs time to heal."
Wells was coming alive with the bat after a sluggish start, having produced three homers and seven RBIs in his past eight games.
"It's a shame to see that happen to Vernon," right fielder Torii Hunter said. "He was just starting to feel good at the plate. I know what [injured] groins are like. You've got to give it some time to heal."
Hunter was plagued by groin issues in 2009 after running into walls at Dodger Stadium and in San Francisco. He had hernia surgery after the season and didn't feel all the way back physically until the second half of the 2010 season.
Willits summoned to replace injured Wells
ANAHEIM -- Reggie Willits was happy to see the sun and feel the warmth, having been summoned on Tuesday from Triple-A Salt Lake to replace outfielder Vernon Wells (strained right groin) on the Angels' 25-man roster.
"It's been cold in Utah," Willits said. "We had a doubleheader [on Monday], and it was in the 30s and 40s and raining at the start of both games. It's been cold there. We had snow one game.
Willits adds considerable versatility to the Angels' bench with his multiple talents. He's adept at all three outfield positions and can pinch-hit from both sides of the plate. He's also one of the Angels' best baserunners and bunters.
The cold -- and bad luck -- left Willits hitless in his first four games at Salt Lake. He settled in and had played well since then, hitting .200 with six RBIs in 12 games. He began the season on the 15-day disabled list with a left calf strain.Willits was inserted into left field for the eighth and ninth innings of Tuesday's 6-2 victory, but did not have an at-bat.
Shortstop Aybar returning to prime-time form
ANAHEIM -- At the plate and in the field, Erick Aybar is back to playing at the elite level among Major League shortstops. He was among the best in the game in 2009 before a series of injuries set him back and finally set him down last year, causing a decline in all phases of the game.
"I feel good again," Aybar said. "That's the main thing. Last year, I had a lot of problems and didn't play like I can. I'm back to being Erick again."
Aybar, who took an eight-game hitting streak into Tuesday night's assignment against the White Sox, leads Major League shortstops with his .344 batting average and has flourished in the leadoff spot, giving manager Mike Scioscia a second viable option there along with Maicer Izturis. Aybar has a .360 on-base percentage and leads the team with nine steals. He has not been caught stealing.
"He's off to a great start," Scioscia said. "In '09, he kept going the whole year. He was set back a little with an oblique [strain] earlier, but he's feeling good now."
Aybar missed 14 games with a left oblique strain, coming off the disabled list on April 19.
Defensively, he is making the plays in the hole and behind second base, showcasing his powerful arm and playing with the consistent excellence that made him a Rawlings Gold Glove candidate in '09.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.