Vernon Wells to DL, Howie Kendrick to left field for Angels

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The Angels made the anticpated move prior to Tuesday’s game, placing Vernon Wells on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin and calling up speedster Reggie Willits to play a reserve role.

But this one came out of left field: replacing Wells tonight and making his first career start in the outfield is usual second baseman Howie Kendrick.

Kendrick had often shifted over to first base with Kendry Morales out, having made seven starts at the position this year.  But he has only one inning of experience in the outfield in the majors, that coming in center.

The reasoning is pretty clear: manager Mike Scioscia thinks his defense is better with Maicer Izturis at second and Alberto Callaspo at third than it would be with one of those two DHing and Bobby Abreu playing left field.

The experiment could be quickly abandoned if Kendrick embarrasses himself in left field.  However, this is definitely the night to give it a try.  Joel Pineiro, who gets about as many grounders as any pitcher in baseball, will be on the mound against the White Sox.

Update: The Orange County Register’s Sam Miller points out that Kendrick’s previous one inning in center field wasn’t even legitimate.  He was listed as the center fielder as part of a five-man infield on a play in which the Angels turned two.

Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title

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The Marlins announced on Sunday that outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title when the city of Miami host’s the All-Star Game festivities next month.

Stanton, 27, defeated Todd Frazier in the finals of last year’s Home Run Derby at Petco Park, hitting 20 home runs to Frazier’s 13. Stanton hit a total of 61 home runs in the Derby. This will be the third Home Run Derby in which Stanton has participated.

Stanton also went 1-for-3 with a solo home run to help the Marlins defeat the Cubs 4-2 on Sunday. He’s now batting .274/.357/.551 with 20 home runs and 49 RBI in 311 plate appearances.

Aaron Hicks to go on the disabled list with an oblique injury

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.