Notes: Covering all facets of diamond

Angels notes: Kendrick at other positions

ANAHEIM -- Versatility is a popular concept with the Angels and Howie Kendrick is taking the crash course.

A second baseman since being drafted in the 10th round by the Angels in 2002, Kendrick is logging time at both third and first during his initial callup with the big club. Kendrick played shortstop in high school and at St. John's River Community College in Palatka, Fla., but the corners are new experiences.

Kendrick is approaching the added assignments with ease.

"I just love the game of baseball, so whatever comes along, I'll do it," Kendrick said.

While the Angels have asked a number of players to work out at different positions -- Maicer Izturis at third, Robb Quinlan at third and the outfield and Edgardo Alfonzo at first -- moving Kendrick around is not just an experiment.

Not only do they believe the added positions will increase his value to the team, the Angels are in dire need of offensive help and Kendrick could provide a spark, especially if they can plug him into different spots on the diamond.

"The first thing is, he can hit," manager Mike Scioscia said. "If he can work into those positions it will not only help him but it could add some productivity for us, too."

Kendrick, who has a career average in the Minors of .362, will adjust to first base more quickly than third because he's used to the right side of the field, Scioscia said. But given the strides he made from being a raw second baseman in 2002 to nearly Major League ready at the position, the team is confident he'll develop skills at the corners as well.

First knocks: Kendrick got his first Major League hit when he drilled a line single to center off Barry Zito in the fifth inning Monday. He said he was looking for a fastball.

"It felt good, but hopefully there will be more to come," Kendrick said. "But it felt good to get it out of the way."

Bad wheel: Darin Erstad was out of the lineup for the second straight game Tuesday with a sore right ankle and Chone Figgins started in center.

This is the same ankle that sidelined Erstad for eight days this spring because of a bone spur, so the club is giving the center fielder some time off to allow the pain to subside.

"Ersty is probably going to be down for at least a couple of days, but it definitely looks short-term," Scioscia said.

Erstad has not been scheduled for any tests and no procedures have been planned, Scioscia said. Erstad, who will accompany the team on its upcoming road trip, is batting .238 with no homers, two doubles and four RBIs.

Getting close: Juan Rivera will take batting practice Wednesday afternoon and if there are no setbacks, he will go to Class A Rancho Cucamonga for a rehab assignment Thursday and possibly another Friday, Scioscia said. The schedule then calls for Rivera to join the Angels in Toronto this weekend.

Rivera, who opened the season as the starting designated hitter, strained his left rib cage in Baltimore last month and has been on the disabled list retroactive to April 17. In 12 games, Rivera is hitting .229 with two homers and five RBIs and while those numbers are down, he is one of the few power threats in the lineup.

"Juan's bat is one we put a lot of stock into," Scioscia said.

Batman: Tim Salmon has been the primary DH with Rivera out of the lineup. He had three homers and five RBIs while batting .259 in 18 games this season, entering Tuesday's contest.

Salmon has not played the outfield this season because of his surgically repaired left knee and will not be stealing playing time from any of the starters, but the Angels would like to see him healthy enough to provide relief there if necessary.

"We hope that there will be a time this season where he will get into the outfield," Scioscia said.

On the farm: Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer in Triple-A Salt Lake's 7-4 win over Las Vegas on Monday. Napoli is hitting .243 with three homers in 20 games. ... Right-hander Dustin Moseley improved to 4-1 by allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits and four walks over five innings.

On deck: The Angels will play in Detroit on Wednesday to open a nine-game road trip. Right-hander Jeff Weaver will face Tigers left-hander Nate Robertson at 4:05 p.m. PT. Right-hander Kevin Gregg will start against Detroit on Thursday.

Mike Scarr is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.