Kendrick thriving since recall

Kendrick thriving since recall

ANAHEIM -- As Howard Kendrick continues to swing a hot bat since his return to the Angels, he cannot help but remember the advice he received from a teammate when he struggled at the plate in May and June.

"Torii [Hunter] used to tell me all the time 'Watch, watch, you'll come out of it,'" Kendrick said. "When you are going through it, you just don't know, but now I look back at where I was and I think, man, he was right."

Playing in 15 games since being recalled on July 4, Kendrick has 20 hits and nine RBIs, raising his average 31 points to .263.

"I have just tried to have good at-bats overall," Kendrick said. "Consistency with good at-bats has really helped me out a lot, and getting the opportunity to get pitches to hit."

In the month of July, Kendrick is hitting .370 and in his last six games alone is batting .500 with 11 hits and five RBIs.

Lately, Angels manager Mike Scioscia has put Kendrick in the designated-hitter role instead of at second base, penciling him in four times since his return and in three of his last five games. In those games, he has five hits and two RBIs.

"You can never say never and never say always," Kendrick said about his role as a DH. "I just have to try and stay loose and in the game and whether I am playing at DH or in the field, I just have to roll with it."

Through Kendrick's struggles and success, teammates have continued to be a support system, as well as teachers, with the second baseman using their mental approach to hitting as a great lesson.

"You see guys around here like Bobby [Abreu] and Chone [Figgins] who walk a lot, hit and score a lot of runs, so when you see guys putting it to work in that aspect, I know I can do that," Kendrick said. "When I got sent down that is what I worked on, having better at-bats and making sure I got pitches to hit."

In his first go-round this year with the Angels, Kendrick struggled heavily, batting .193 in May with 16 hits in 24 games and .269 in June with seven hits in eight games.

Yet, after being sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake on June 13, Kendrick hit .346 with six doubles, two home runs and 11 RBIs in 20 games.

"I learned so much struggling, going down to Triple-A and learning these things," Kendrick said. "On the way up no one ever really talked to me about how to have fun and just play.

"It has taken me this year really struggling to figure out and know what it is like to have a quality at-bat, and the more I try to progress as a player in that aspect, I think it will definitely help me as a hitter."

Pitching matchup
LAA: RHP Jered Weaver (10-3, 3.57 ERA)
Weaver struggled early against the Twins on Thursday, allowing three runs in the first inning, but he settled down to retire 14 of the next 15 batters he faced with the one runner reaching base on a hit by pitch. Weaver simply battled back from a rough start, tossing seven-plus innings, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out five and walking one. Weaver is 1-1 with a 4.88 ERA in six career starts against the Indians.

CLE: LHP David Huff (5-4, 6.39 ERA)
Huff bent but didn't break in a win over the Blue Jays on Thursday. He went 7 2/3 innings -- the second-longest of his 13 Major League starts -- and allowed four runs on eight hits with a walk, four strikeouts and two homers. On the whole, he did a good job keeping the ball down and not letting innings get away from him. Huff is 5-2 over his last nine starts and has shown improvement at this level. Tuesday will be the first career appearance against the Angels for the Southern California native.

Tidbits
The Angels and Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society will host more than 70 kids (ages 9-12) from the Angels RBI League and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Ana and Westminster at Angel Stadium on July 28 from 10 a.m. to noon PT on Tuesday as part of the team's 2009 P.L.A.Y. (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) campaign. Angels head athletic trainer Ned Bergert and staff, along with Angels players Reggie Willits, Kevin Jepsen, Robb Quinlan and Matt Palmer, will run drills and participate in a Q&A session. ... The Angels hit three consecutive homers on Monday for the first time this season. ... The last time the Angels had back-to-back-to-back homers was Sept. 18 in Oakland. ... Outfielder Terry Evans and second baseman Sean Rodriguez had two hits for the Salt Lake Bees in a 4-1 win, the second game of Sunday's doubleheader against the Portland Beavers.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
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On television
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On radio
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Up next
• Wednesday: Angels (John Lackey, 6-4, 4.22) vs. Indians (Aaron Laffey, 4-2, 3.71), 12:35 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Angels (Ervin Santana, 3-6, 7.29) at Twins (Nick Blackburn, 8-5, 3.75), 5:10 p.m. PT

Quinn Roberts is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.