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Dodgers reportedly eyeing Kennedy

In need of a versatile presence for their infield with the departure of Aaron Miles, the Dodgers have contacted Adam Kennedy’s representatives, according to MLB Trade Rumors. Kennedy has Southern California roots and has been a travelin’ man since leaving the Angels in 2007 for the Cardinals after seven seasons as their second baseman.

Kennedy, a high school star in Riverside, Calif., before becoming a postseason star for the 2002 World Series champion Angels, has played first and third base as well as second in recent seasons for the Athletics, Nationals and Mariners. He’s a .272 career hitter with a .326 OBP and .385 slugging mark across 13 Major League seasons.

Kennedy, who turns 36 on Jan. 10, hit .234 in 114 games for Seattle in 2011. Twice a .300 hitter with the Angels, he is best known for his three-homer epic in the ’02 ALCS against the Twins.

The Dodgers acquired Mark Ellis as their new second baseman, joining James Loney, Dee Gordon and Juan Uribe in the projected infield. Kennedy is highly regarded as a tough-minded, positive clubhouse presence. – Lyle Spencer

Big move looks unlikely for Angels

CLEVELAND – There has been considerable talk about the need of another bat or a reliever, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia seems content with his roster. Before Monday night’s game against the Indians, Scioscia didn’t dismiss outright the notion of a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal being made by Sunday – but didn’t sound overly encouraged or even enthused about the prospect.

Owner “Arte Moreno has spent enough money,” Scioscia said. “We need to get it in-house. It’s realistic. It’s not a wing and a prayer. I think we’ll get better, and I’ve already seen signs of it.”

In Scioscia’s mind, a return to form by Fernando Rodney after missing five weeks with upper back issues “is like a huge trade acquisition.” Rodney couldn’t have looked much better in his first appearance since returning to the bullpen, striking out two of the three hitters he faced in Baltimore on Saturday with fastballs only.

“It’s hard to get a guy who can throw anywhere from middle [relief] to late in the game and have the possibility to close,” Scioscia said, referring to Rodney. He brings back-end balance in the form of two right-handers (with closer Jordan Walden) and two lefties (Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi).”

There have been reports connecting the Angels to the Padres and Heath Bell, but the Angels have been down that road before and the asking price was way too high for their taste.

Scisocia seems convinced the Angels’ offense has the right pieces but just needs Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Maicer Izturis and Vernon Wells to produce closer to the level of their track records. – Lyle Spencer

Angels surveying relief market

ANAHEIM — Fernando Rodney makes his second Minor League rehab appearance on Wednesday night from a strained back muscle, pitching for Inland Empire in the California League.

How Rodney looks and feels could play into how active the Angels are in pursuit of a reliever by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Rodney, if he’s healthy, can be the bridge to Scott Downs and Jordan Walden in the eighth and ninth innings.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia indicated on Wednesday that the bullpen is one area the club is exploring in the market. General manager Tony Reagins has been spending a lot of time on the phone, Scioscia said.

“There are some areas as a team where we’d like to see an upgrade,” Scioscia said. “I’m not going to say what it is, because we have guys playing there now. There are a number of areas that are hopefully going to come up to help us have a deeper club. We’re definitely looking at depth in the bullpen.”

But at what cost? The Angels would have to be convinced they have a legitimate shot at toppling the high-flying Rangers to commit another premium prospect for a setup reliever. Hisanori Takahashi was superb in the role on Saturday in Oakland. 

Veteran southpaw Horacio Ramirez, summoned from Triple-A Salt Lake, hopes to be one of the answers, joining Downs and Takahashi on the left side in Scioscia’s balanced bullpen.– Lyle Spencer

 

Scioscia looking in-house

Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn’t sound overly enthused on Sunday about the Angels going outside the organization for an upgrade as the non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.

“The potential to get better is in our clubhouse,” Scioscia said. “We’re not going to look at the standings. We’ve seen some growth and some shortcomings. We have to focus on playing good baseball. We’re not the deep team we need to be, but we’re deeper now than we were.”

It’s no secret that any club offering an impact hitter to the Angels will be asking for super prospect Mike Trout in return.  Trout might not be untouchable, but you might burn yourself if you try to get too close to the multi-talented outfielder. It would take something almost unimaginable for the Angels to part with the future star they plan to align with Peter Bourjos and possibly Mark Trumbo in a potentially lethal outfield. — Lyle Spencer

 

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