Once the regular season begins, Howie Kendrick won’t be too far removed from where he grew accustomed to playing his home games with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. However, this season marks the first in which Kendrick won’t be wearing a red uniform in his nine-year career.
Kendrick is of course one-half of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ revamped middle infield. He’s joined by Jimmy Rollins, who also turns in a red-centric uniform for Dodger blue. Kendrick’s Spring Training locker is sandwiched between Rollins’ and Juan Uribe’s to his right, and Justin Turner and Joc Pederson to his immediate left.
Although his comments came from the visitors’ clubhouse at Surprise Stadium, Kendrick said he’s enjoyed being part of a new team, Kevin Baxter of the LA Times:
I’ve just been enjoying it,” said Kendrick, who had two hits, including a massive home run, in an 11-11 tie with the Texas Rangers. “Getting to know everybody, playing with everybody. It’s awesome. Everybody gets along.”
Kendrick elaborated on his comment and mentioned the club’s atmosphere as a positive:
There’s always some kind of antic going on every day. Those are things you need to keep everything relaxed and loose.”
Plenty has been made of a Dodgers clubhouse that’s now without Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Brian Wilson — talented players whose personalities tended to subside or wear thin on those around them when matters weren’t breaking in their favor.
There were reports Kemp was at odds with Yasiel Puig, though Kemp’s refuted the notion any of his former teammates had issue with him. Puig recently intimated he disagreed with Kemp’s claim that he was the best outfielder in the game.
Kendrick’s presence doesn’t come with off-the-field matters that may have hampered the Dodgers last season. However, at 31 years old and in the final year of his contract, how long he remains with the Dodgers remains to be seen.
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