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Friday, April 25, 2008

More From Robothal: Erick Aybar Having A "Breathtaking Start"

Remember the open competition between Aybar and Maicer Izturis at shortstop, which the Angels started in spring training, then carried into the season?

Suddenly, it might be over.

Aybar, who went 6-for-12 with three doubles in the Angels' most recent series at Fenway Park, raising his batting average to .358, appears nearly entrenched at short as the Angels visit the Tigers this weekend (MLB on Fox, Saturday, 3:55 p.m.)

"Erick is really off to a terrific start," Angels manager Mike Scioscia says. "He's playing very good defense. Offensively, he's feeling comfortable. If he keeps playing as well as he has, it will be tough to move him out."

Aybar, the younger brother of Rays infielder Willy Aybar, began starting every day at short after second baseman Howie Kendrick strained his left hamstring on April 13, forcing Izturis to take over at second.

Izturis, 27, is beginning to hit, raising his batting average from .109 to .194 in the past five games. But Aybar is separating himself both defensively and offensively.

"I thought out of spring training that Aybar was the better defender and that Izturis would hit more," says a rival scout who saw the Angels frequently in the spring. "Aybar has passed him in virtually every phase."



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