Kendrick opens spring in a groove at the plate

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Howie Kendrick has gotten off to a hot start this spring, but he refuses to make too much of the numbers. The Angels' second baseman is batting .533 with a 1.000 slugging percentage through his first four games, and he said Wednesday that the numbers don't really count.

"It is what it is," said Kendrick of his gaudy statistics. "I feel good that my timing is there, but the main goal is to see a lot of pitches. If we get the hits, that's great. Obviously you want to swing and get hits, but really the important thing is just being able to see as many pitches as you can."

Kendrick, a career .292 hitter, is a candidate to bat second in the Angels' lineup this season, but he said he doesn't really worry about where he hits. Kendrick just wants to be in the lineup, and he knows that the Halos are deep enough that there won't be an easy out anywhere in the batting order.

The 29-year-old is a career .257 hitter as the No. 2 hitter, but he's been much more successful in the sixth (.309), seventh (.314) and eighth (.327) slot in the lineup. Wherever he hits, Kendrick just wants to make sure that he's the same player from the start of April all the way through October.

"Just to be consistent. That says a lot," said Kendrick. "If you're consistent, that means you're going out every day and giving 100 percent. You're out trying to help your team win the game. I think consistency comes from staying in the game and doing what I need to do to either get on base or move runners. If I can stay consistent and healthy throughout the year, I'd say that's just my main goal."

The second spot of the Angels' order is coveted because it means batting behind Mike Trout and in front of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, a prime spot to see fastball after fastball. The Angels are also considering third baseman Alberto Callaspo and shortstop Erick Aybar as table-setters.

Kendrick raved about the Angels' talent around him, saying that the team is full of diverse threats that both get on base and hit for power. Manager Mike Scioscia, speaking before his team's game against Team Italy on Wednesday, said that Kendrick is in a great groove to start the spring.

"Once Howie gets going after his first couple at-bats of the spring, he really feels good about it," Scioscia said. "He's comfortable using the whole field. He's hitting the ball from the left-field line to the right-field line and occasionally out of the park. He's in a good comfort level right now."

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