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.

Nationals promote 19-year-old prospect Juan Soto

SportsLogos.net
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The Nationals recalled 19-year-old outfield prospect Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, per a team announcement. Soto is poised to become the youngest player in the league once he makes his official debut with the club, and the Nationals’ first teenager to enter the majors since Bryce Harper made his first appearance back in 2012.

Entering the 2018 season, Soto was ranked no. 2 in the Nationals’ system and 15th overall. He’s certainly lived up to the hype during his first two years of pro ball, blazing through Single-A, High-A and Double-A levels in 2018 alone. While he logged just eight games at the Double-A level prior to his promotion to the majors, he proved consistent across all three levels this spring and slashed a cumulative .362/.462/.757 with 14 home runs and a 1.218 OPS in 182 plate appearances.

It’s not entirely clear how soon or in what capacity the Nationals will utilize their youngest player, but Soto’s tear through the minors is sure to pave the road for a few opportunities on the big-league level. He’ll be available off the bench for Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers.