Aybar, Kendrick begin baseball activity
Scioscia juggles infield with tandem not quite ready to return
CHICAGO -- Good news for the Angels and their fans: Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick are feeling good enough on their balky hamstrings to begin baseball activities.
Aybar, the shortstop, and Kendrick, the second baseman, were at U.S. Cellular Field, in uniform, gloves in hand, during workouts before Friday night's series opener against the White Sox.
According to manager Mike Scioscia, Aybar and Kendrick will take batting practice on Saturday and begin to run on Monday when the Angels return home to face the Yankees.
"They're coming along, making progress," Scioscia said. The hope is that both Aybar and Kendrick will be able to get back in the lineup with enough time to get their timing right for the postseason -- not that you'll hear Scioscia mention the postseason until the magic number, six coming into the series, is reduced to zero.
To increase his middle-infield flexibility and options, Scioscia moved Chone Figgins from third to second on Friday night, with Sean Rodriguez at shortstop and Robb Quinlan at third against southpaw Mark Buehrle.
"It's something we've talked about internally," Scioscia said of Figgins returning, for a day at least, to second. "We need to create some more depth at second. It's a good night to give Q a start. He's got to stay in tune. Of all the positions Figgy has played, he's probably played the most at second. He's comfortable there."
Just the other day, Scioscia was promoting Figgins as a Gold Glove candidate at third, where he has excelled this season.
"It's no problem going back to second," Figgins said, grinning. "I'm pretty adaptable. I've been doing this a long time now."
Aybar has been sidelined since Aug. 27, when he left in the ninth inning against the A's with tightness in his left hamstring. While sharing shortstop with Maicer Izturis, out for the season after thumb surgery, Aybar missed 25 games with a dislocated right pinkie sustained on May 20 in Toronto.
Aybar, batting .277, has hit safely in 34 of his previous 44 games and is batting .308 with runners in scoring position as one of several options for Scioscia in the No. 2 hole.
Kendrick, batting .308, departed in the same game as Aybar five innings earlier after straining his left hamstring. The same injury cost him 42 games after a baserunning misadventure on April 13 in Seattle.
Kendrick, batting a team-high .380 with runners in scoring position, had been playing superior defense at the time of his injury, with only one error in 71 games.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.