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ANGELS REPORT

Kendrick's hamstring passes test

May 13, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

An MRI test on Howie Kendrick's strained left hamstring, which he aggravated playing for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on May 6, revealed no new damage, and doctors believe the "grabbing" the second baseman felt was the tearing of scar tissue.

After several days of physical therapy, Kendrick has resumed baseball activities but no timetable has been set for his return.

"It depends how it feels," said Kendrick, who worked out with the Angels on Monday. "I feel good today, and I felt good the day after the injury. But I have to strengthen it. The reality is, there's a strain, and I tore some scar tissue."

Kendrick, who hit two home runs the night he was injured, had stolen second base and, after the throw went into center field, was headed toward third base when he felt the hamstring "grab a bit."

Considering he has been on the disabled list since April 14 and was hoping to sit out only 15 days, could Kendrick have tried to come back too soon?

"No, because I was running sprints and it felt good," Kendrick said. "You can look back a million times, say I should have done this, but I felt like I was ready to play. Sometimes things change."

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The transition to Chicago hasn't been easy for Orlando Cabrera, not because the White Sox shortstop is struggling to adjust to a new team, but because he misses his former club.

"My ex-teammates were great to me, and Mike Scioscia was unbelievable," said Cabrera, who played three seasons with the Angels before being traded for pitcher Jon Garland in November.

"And these fans here, they're probably the best in baseball. I miss it, but slowly, I'm making the transition to Chicago."

Cabrera, who received his 2007 Gold Glove Award from Scioscia in a ceremony before Monday night's game, said he was "not surprised" his replacement, Erick Aybar, has played so well, but he saved his highest praise for his former manager.

"With all due respect to the other big league managers, Mike Scioscia is the smartest guy in the big leagues right now," Cabrera said. "Any team you give to him, he'll turn it into a team that wins a lot of games. He teaches you how to outsmart your opponent."

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One option the Angels have considered to put punch in their offense is to add a third catcher to the roster and use Mike Napoli, who had a .250 average through Sunday with eight home runs and 15 runs batted in, as a designated hitter in the games he doesn't catch.

But before making such a move, Scioscia will first try to get Napoli more starts behind the plate -- Napoli has started four of the last five games over Jeff Mathis.

"Mike is swinging well, driving the ball, and we've talked about getting his bat in the lineup more," Scioscia said. "But Jeff is catching very well. If Mike picks it up more [defensively] he could be in there on a more regular basis as a catcher."

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Reliever Justin Speier, who gave up game-winning home runs in two of the three Angels weekend losses at Tampa Bay, went through an extensive bullpen workout with pitching coach Mike Butcher on Monday in an effort to iron out his delivery. He was unavailable Monday night. . . . Dustin Moseley (tightness in his right forearm) threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings in a rehabilitation start for Rancho Cucamonga, giving up three hits, striking out six and walking two. He threw 60 pitches. . . . Second baseman Maicer Izturis (lower-back strain) played five innings for Rancho Cucamonga and had one hit in two at-bats. Izturis is expected to be activated this week. . . . The Angels recalled infielder Matt Brown from triple-A Salt Lake and sent infielder Brandon Wood (.154) back to Salt Lake.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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