Howie Kendrick fell a triple short of the cycle Thursday, which would be less impressive if:
a) he hadn’t singled, doubled and homered off major-league starters Clayton Kershaw and Ted Lilly;
b) Kershaw hadn’t also struck out seven batters in three innings.
Kershaw said after the game that his location was erratic. That was never more true than when Kendrick was in the batter’s box against the two-time National League ERA champ. His fifth-inning home run against Lilly was his first of the spring and it was a bomb, landing on the top of a grassy knoll just left of center field in a deep ballpark — Camelback Ranch is 420 feet to straightaway center and Kendrick’s ball definitely traveled farther.
That was the only Angel home run of the game. Kendrick had three of the 12 hits, and nine other players had one each. Here are a few more notes:
The Angels cleared a spot on their 40-man roster by outrighting right-handed reliever Bobby Cassevah on Thursday. Cassevah has 72 hours to either accept his assignment to the minor-league side or become a free agent.
Cassevah appeared in one game this spring, allowing a single and walking two batters but escaping the jam Sunday against the Oakland A’s.
The assignment comes as Cassevah was hoping to move past a disappointing 2012 season. He hurt his shoulder in spring training and pitched in just four major-league games all year, walking six and surrendering four runs in five innings (7.20 ERA). At Triple-A Salt Lake, Cassevah went 4-1 with a 6.22 ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, recording 10 saves in 12 opportunities.
The Angels could use Cassevah’s roster spot to acquire a player via trade or free agency, though it’s too soon to say if the Angels want to go that route. It’s also good news for 40-man roster pitchers Nick Maronde, Brandon Sisk, David Carpenter, Steven Geltz and Michael Kohn, whose chances of starting the season in the majors temporarily improve.
Mike Scioscia updated first baseman Albert Pujols’ progress in his comeback from off-season surgery on his right knee:
For his first day playing a game in an Angels uniform, Josh Hamilton did not bring enough bats.
Hamilton had three bats when the day began Tuesday. He broke one in batting practice. The other two broke in the game. When he looked down to see a crack in his lumber after fouling a pitch off in the fifth inning, at least he had a contingency plan in place.
“I told (Mark Trumbo) before the game, If I break one I’m going to come and get yours,” Hamilton said.
The bat broke, and Trumbo obliged.