TORONTO -- Howie Kendrick's arduous battle through a sprained left knee officially ended Tuesday, when the Angels second baseman successfully ran sprints for a second straight day and was activated for the start of a three-game series at Rogers Centre.
Kendrick is expected to rejoin the starting lineup Friday in Houston. For now, he will be available as a pinch-hitter, with the Angels wanting to avoid playing him on the hard turf as much as possible.
Kendrick, with a .301/.341/.437 slash line in 108 games, hurt his knee on a collision with right fielder Collin Cowgill on Aug. 5. He originally opted to wait a couple of days to see if he could avoid the disabled list. When he went on the DL, he hoped to be back in 15 days. But Kendrick had a hard time sprinting pain-free on consecutive days -- until early Tuesday afternoon.
"Part of me kind of knew I'd be back before the end of the year," Kendrick said. "I wasn't going to shut it down and be like, 'Oh, I don't want to play.' I want to play. Being healthy, for me, that's huge. I always want to be healthy, never want to be hurt. I'm just trying to get back out there and help the team."
Throughout the course of his rehab, Kendrick had been able to do everything besides run sprints. One of the things he did constantly was hit. But one thing he has not done in more than a month is face live pitching. And with the Angels' affiliates in the playoffs, there was not really a way for Kendrick to conveniently get in some rehab games before returning to action.
He will have to adjust as he goes along.
"Obviously the timing's something that's going to be something that comes with at-bats," Kendrick said. "You never know until you get in the game. Timing's the whole thing. I haven't seen live action in a while. It'd be kind of just jumping back into something I've done my whole life. I'm not expecting a whole lot early on, but once I get back into the swing of things I'll start to feel better."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.