Not so fast, Howie. Time to head back to Utah.
Good news, Jose Arredondo, the Angels found someone you can room with in Triple-A Salt Lake. Just days after making an example out of Jose Arredondo by optioning him to the minors, the Angels have done the exact same thing with Howie Kendrick.
After struggling all season long, the Angels finally lost their patience with the floundering second baseman and have sent him packing for the minors in hopes of him finding his lost swing. The Angels have not yet announced who is taking Howie's place on the active roster, but it is widely expected to be slugging second baseman Sean Rodriguez and not uber-prospect Brandon Wood. There is also no announcement on who will fill in for Kendrick in the horrible Howard's Superstore commercials either (too bad).
Howie's demotion raises a lot more questions than it answers. First and foremost, how permanent is this move? Kendrick was once thought to be a franchise cornerstone, but clearly the team has lost faith in him entirely. Oddly enough, he had actually started hitting since the start of June (.269 BA and .725 OPS), if anything he should have been sent down weeks ago. This makes me think he is going to have to totally dominate in the minors before he is allowed to return to the major league level, especially if Sean Rodriguez continues to mash as well as he as in the minors, assuming he gets to play, that is.
I wish I didn't have to ask this, bu is S-Rod really going to get a chance to win the second base job? Maicer Izturis has long been a Sciosca favorite and went 4-for-4 in place of Howie last night, so as nonsensical as it sounds, there is a very real chance that Rodriguez could end up riding the pine quite a bit, much like Brandon Wood did in his lone stint in the big league club earlier this year. However, Rodriguez is exactly what the Angels need, a player with big-time power. Even Mike Scioscia has to know at this point that he needs to get the youngster some regular at-bats. If Rodriguez performs well, it may not matter how quickly Kendrick bounces back in the minors.
Finally, many will wonder why Brandon Wood, the superior prospect to Rodriguez, isn't getting recalled. The most obvious reason is the Angels do not want to move Chone Figgins to second, where he hasn't played with any regularity in over two years, to make room for Wood. Also, it seems clear from Wood's recent move to first base that the team is readying him to be able to fill-in that position in the near future (watch your back Robb Quinlan).