9/14/2013 7:39 P.M. ET
Scioscia balances playing time for LA backstops
By Glenn Sattell / Special to MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Making sure catchers get enough rest over the grind of a 162-game season can be a challenge for any manager, but Angels skipper Mike Scioscia played 13 big league seasons behind the plate and perhaps has a better understanding of that than anyone.
"They've shared the burden physically," Scioscia said of Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger. "There's not one guy that's been out there. Chris and Hank have been out there for, at this point in the season, 120 to 130 games. They've had time to catch their breath at times during the season."
Both have made their contributions offensively, with Iannetta hitting his 10th homer in Friday's opener and Conger entering Saturday's game hitting .258.
"On the offensive side, there's no doubt they've contributed a lot as we move into the last couple weeks of the season," Scioscia said.
But the juggling act can be challenging, even for a veteran skipper who has been there before.
"You plan it any way you have to to get the most production behind the plate," Scioscia said. "You want to mix and match a little bit. I think those guys have done a terrific job. As they play better, they earn more playing time.
"You see a guy like Hank come out and really do a good job swinging the bat left handed and working behind the plate, and it's gotten him more at-bats, more playing time, and it's helped us."
Kendrick feels good after strong return from DL
HOUSTON -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before Howie Kendrick returned to the lineup Friday that some players need some time to get back in the swing of things, while others never miss a beat.
Mark down Kendrick for the latter.
The Angels second baseman delivered a pair of singles and scored a run in his first two at-bats of Friday's 9-7 loss after missing 33 games with a hyperextended left knee.
"It went pretty good," Kendrick said. "I just tried to see a lot of pitches and just have good at-bats."
Kendrick said he didn't feel any pressure in returning to his old form, as he ranked second in the Major Leagues among second baseman with 126 hits before his Aug. 5 injury.
He also turned a pair of double plays before Grant Green took over in the field in the eighth, part of manager Mike Scioscia's plan to ease Kendrick back to action.
"I didn't really have many expectations coming back to playing every day," Kendrick said.
• The Angles' top three Minor League affiliates all won Friday in their respective league championship series. Triple-A Salt Lake blanked Royals affiliate Omaha, 9-0, and trail the series, 2-1. Double-A Arkansas defeated Padres affiliate San Antonio, 4-1, to take a 2-1 series lead. And Class A Inland Empire took down Giants affiliate San Jose, 9-1, to lead that series, 2-0.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.