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ANGELS FYI

Outlook for Angels' Howie Kendrick good, Vernon Wells still feels discomfort

Temporary left fielder Kendrick says the tightness in his right hamstring is minor and should sideline him only another day or two. It could be several weeks before Wells returns to action.

May 20, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels second basemen Howie Kendrick flips the ball to first base for an out against the Kansas City Royals earlier this season at Kauffman Stadium.
Angels second basemen Howie Kendrick flips the ball to first base for an… (Peter G. Aiken / US Presswire )

The prognosis for the temporary left fielder is good. Howie Kendrick, who left Thursday's game in Seattle because of tightness in his right hamstring, was not in Friday night's lineup but said the injury is minor and will sideline him for only another day or two.

The outlook for the permanent left fielder, the one who hit 31 home runs for Toronto last season and was expected to be a middle-of-the-order force for the Angels this season? Not so good.

Manager Mike Scioscia hinted Friday that it could be several weeks before Vernon Wells, who went on the disabled list because of a right groin strain May 10, returns to action.

"He's feeling better, but this is going to be a while," Scioscia said before Friday night's interleague game against the Atlanta Braves. "Hopefully, we're not talking about months. But it's not day to day. Right now, he's just taking baby steps in his rehabilitation."

Wells, who hit .183 with four home runs and 13 runs batted in before his injury, has been doing range-of-motion exercises and swimming-pool therapy, but he's still feeling too much discomfort to start strengthening exercises.

Kendrick, who has been immune to a team-wide offensive funk — he had three hits, including a solo home run in Thursday's loss to the Mariners — did not run Friday, but he took batting practice and said he'd be available to pinch hit Friday night.

"It feels real good," said Kendrick, who is batting .322 with seven homers, 12 doubles and 18 RBIs. "If I can swing, I'm pretty sure nothing major is going on."

Kendrick knows a major hamstring injury when he feels one. He went on the disabled list twice in 2008 because of left hamstring strains that sidelined him for more than two months.

"This isn't the same thing," said Kendrick, who tweaked the leg on a stolen-base attempt in the ninth inning. "The good thing was I was sliding when I did it. That stopped me from running."

Kazmir on the move

Scott Kazmir made enough progress in Thursday's extended spring-training game in Arizona that the Angels will bring him to Anaheim for a bullpen workout Saturday and send him to triple-A Salt Lake to start a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday night.

Kazmir, on the disabled list because of lower-back soreness, has spent more than a month in Arizona trying to find a consistent release point and delivery.

The left-hander gave up one hit and walked three but didn't strike out a batter in 62/3 innings of a 101-pitch outing Thursday. His fastball was clocked at about 88 mph.

"He wasn't as crisp as he could be, but he commanded the ball better," Scioscia said. "He felt better about his stuff, but he still has a ways to go."

Kazmir went 9-15 with a 5.94 earned-run average last season and was rocked for five runs and five hits in 12/3 innings of his only start this season, at Kansas City on April 3.

Once he starts a rehab assignment, the Angels will have 30 days to either activate him or release him and swallow the rest of his contract, which calls for him to make $14.5 million this season.

Short hops

Designated hitter Bobby Abreu entered Friday night with 532 career doubles, which ranked third among active players and 32nd on baseball's all-time list, and hit an RBI double in the third inning Friday to move within one of Lou Gehrig's 534 doubles. … The Angels entered Friday 11 wins shy of their 4,000th franchise victory.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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