By Evan Brunell
The Angels made a move to bolster their offense by signing Russell Branyan to the team while losing another top hitter to the DL. They placed Howie Kendrick on the shelf with a hamstring strain, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Branyan was designated for assignment by Arizona last week and was officially released Thursday. He'll split time at first base and the DH spot with Mark Trumbo and Bobby Abreu, respectively. He also has quite a few games played in the outfield, and could bolster left-field production while Vernon Wells remains out with injury. Branyan should help carry the load while Kendrick is out. Even when Kendrick and Wells return, Branyan will have no shortage of playing time as the Angels really need help in the middle of the order, help that Kendrys Morales and Wells were supposed to provide.
Branyan, 35, had gotten off to a .210/.290/.339 mark with the Diamondbacks, hitting just one homer in 69 plate appearances. However, Branyan has 190 career blasts, good enough for a .487 slugging percentage. He's an all-or-nothing hitter, given his career .239 batting average, but has a good eye and can get on-base, making him valuable. He's been a part-time player most of his career, mostly due to injuries and his all-or-nothing approach exposing him to brutal slumps.
Kendrick has not played since last Thursday, so his backdated DL stint will only keep him out a minimum of eight days. However, his slow recovery may cause him to stay on the DL for a while.