Napoli, Kendrick searching for hits

The focus has been on Vladimir Guerrero the past few days in his return from a torn pectoral muscle, but deeper struggles are ongoing with Mike Napoli and Howard Kendrick, two of the Angels’ most lethal offensive weapons.

Napoli, mired in a 1-for-24 slump, was not in the lineup on Saturday night. Jeff Mathis got the call behind the plate against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, a man Mathis has homered twice against.

Napoli was on fire in the designated hitter role, but a return to full-time catching has coincided with an offensive slumber. He lined out to center in his first at-bat on Friday night against lefty Jason Vargas before striking out twice and popping up.

Napoli’s average has fallen to .275 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 131 at-bats. Mathis is batting .229 and has 12 RBIs without a homer in 70 at-bats.

“Nap is a dangerous guy in that batter’s box,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He can hit the ball out to all parts of the field, and he has a good eye. Right now, he’s just having a little trouble squaring up some pitches that he had been hitting.”

After showing signs of breaking out on the road trip to Texas, L.A. and Seattle, Kendrick is hitless in 11 at-bats on the homestand, his average plunging to 229. He came into the season with a .306 Major Leager batting average after hitting .360 in the Minor Leagues.

Maicer Izturis got the start at second after Kendrick grounded out twice and struck out on Friday night.

“It’s a little spotty,” Scioscia said of Kendrick’s progress. “At times it looks like he’s making some strides. And there are times he looks a little frustrated, trying to do too much with pitches rather than square it up. He’s working hard. It’s something Mickey [Hatcher] is paying attention to. Hopefully, some hits will start to fall.”

Meanwhile, in Triple-A Salt Lake, versatile Sean Rodriguez is getting a lot of hits to fall — more than a few landing beyond walls. He has 17 homers and 50 RBIs with a .280 average through 46 games, slugging at a .652 clip.

“Sean started slowly, but he’s been putting some great swings on the ball,” Angels reliever Rich Thompson said, having played alongside Rodriguez in Salt Lake before getting called to Anaheim. “I’ve seen Howie when he gets hot, too, and pitchers can’t do anything with him. He hits shots everywhere. That will come, I’m sure. He’s too good a hitter.”

 

 

  

2 Comments

Sean finished off the month of May with a homerun yesterday afternoon, setting a Salt Lake franchise record for HRs (12) in one complete month. BTW, no one in the PCL brought in more RBIs, 35, during the month of May, and this magic number is just one short of the franchise record for RBIs/month set by Todd Walker (1996, Minnesota Twins affliliation).
Something tells me Rodriguez is going to be rewarded as Organizational Player for May. And perhaps a call-up? . . .BeesGal . . . http://www.chiburibird.net/sporkballblog/2009/03/29/opening-day-salt-lake-bees/#srodriguez

Guys like Sean need to get the oportunity to lay in the major leagues. It’s not fair to hold them back when you have young infielers like kendrick and aybar that oviously have been given the starting jobs. Bring up Sean and use him instead of Willits or Quinlin. He is a good utility man plays many positions and has more power than Willits or Quinlin. Paying these guys to sit on the bench 95% of the season does’t make much sense.

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