Howie Kendrick of the LA Angels Howie Kendrick of the LA Angels

Angles Lose Kendrick, Add Branyan

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Howie Kendrick of the LA Angels has been placed on the team’s 15 day disabled list.  Kendrick has been dealing with a hamstring strain.

The injury has kept the second baseman out of the Angels lineup since May 19th.  LA apparently does not like where he is in the healing process, and hopes that with more time Kendrick will be back to 100%.

Currently 5th in the AL with a .322 batting average, Kendrick has been the team’s best offensive player this year.

Once ranked the 12th best prospect by Baseball America, the second baseman has always fared well at the plate.  The 6 year pro owns a lifetime average of .297 and he tallied 41 doubles last season.

But before his injury, Kendrick appeared to have broken out in 2011.  I’ve already mentioned his average, but his increased pop and patience at the plate are what separate this season from his past campaigns.

Kendrick already has drawn 16 base on balls and has hit 7 homeruns.  He only managed 28 walks in 158 games last season, when he also tied his record with 10 homeruns.

This better batting eye and power surge have led to Kendrick’s solid OPS of .908.  Before this season, Kendrick wasn’t able to raise that mark above .800.

Because the DL stint can be backdated to May 20th, Kendrick will be eligible to return June 4th.

To take Kendrick’s roster spot, the Angels have signed veteran slugger Russell Branyan.  The 35 year old was recently released by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Some speculate they see Branyan and Mark Trumbo as a lefty/righty platoon at first for the Angels.  I find it a little hard to believe that the 25 year old Trumbo who leads the team in homeruns and is second in RBIs would lose much time to Branyan.

More likely Branyan will be utilized as a DH and maybe even OF while providing depth at first.