Los Angeles Angels shortstop Erick Aybar will see an unfamiliar sight when he looks to his left on Opening Day, as longtime double-play partner Howie Kendrick is no longer with the team following an offseason trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
As MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez points out, "the pair joined the Angels in 2002, Aybar as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic and Kendrick as a 10th-round Draft pick out of Palatka, Fla. Three years later, they teamed up in Double-A, then came up to the big leagues at around the same time, established themselves as everyday players at around the same time and agreed on extensions to delay their free agencies at around the same time."
There are currently four viable candidates for Kendrick's former spot on the diamond: Grant Green, Johnny Giavotella, Taylor Featherston, and Josh Rutledge.
Regardless of who's playing next to him, slugger Albert Pujols knows that Aybar will have a smile on his face regardless.
"Erick is a guy who always has fun," Pujols said. "He wants to win, but every time he's on the field, he loves to have fun. It doesn't matter if he's 0-for-4 or if he made an error."
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