Howie Kendrick has been playing Left Field except when Alexi Amarista has been there. It is not exactly depth. But with Reggie Willits still looking for his first hit of the season and Vernon Wells making umpteen millions of dollars to post fifth-grade-level rhymes on twitter (too dogged to blog?) while using a groin injury for Tony Reagins to blame the season on, How just goes out there and does the job. And there he was, chasing down a ball with no grace or style but getting things done in order that neither he nor the team were embarrassed (the rest of them would do enough of that on plenty of other plays). Howie has been playing 1B when Mark Trumbo needs a day of meditating on memories of Salt Lake to light a fire under that bench.
Howie has been here a while now. Howie is a fixture in a team that is in transition - even though the marketing department and billboard cronies of Arte that think that our team is their team and that they know what is best will deny it, the rebuilding is about to begin. And only a few core players will be around for the next wave. The team that got 54 outs away form the World Series in 2009 may get dismantled, face-lifted or restructured, but almost any conceivable configuration of the next great Angels team has Howie Kendrick on it.
He is already cracking some franchise categories enough to give you confidence when you mention his name as maybe one of the greats:
Kendrick's .296 batting average ties Garret Anderson for THIRD place among Angels with at least 2,000 Plate Appearances.
Howie just passed Chili Davis for 20th place in Wins Above Replacement as an Angel with 11.3. Chili had 4,031 plate Appearances as an Angel. Howie has had 2,244.
His Slugging% of .431 is just behind another famous Angels 2B: Bobby Grich slugged .436, rankinghtem 19th and 201th all-time in the franchise. In a few days Howie will pass that other great Halo 2B Bobby Knoop's 24th place all time with 629 hits as an Angel.
Let's be confident in the things we can be confident in. The club is at .500, Scott Kazmir is a bust, Mike Trout is a dream until he can legally drink champagne and they play Buttercup's lyrical acceptance of losing during the seventh inning stretch at Angel Stadium. But we can be confident that Howie Kendrick will show up to play, at some position, every day. So let's start with that confidence and build on it, instead of letting them build up a marketing ploy just to let us down with watered-down beer, Aramark food and Kendry bobblehead giveaways.