TEMPE, Ariz. -- Erick Aybar likes his feeds from second basemen slightly high and away from his body, so he can stretch his left arm back, pivot his body and gain some momentum toward first base to complete a double play. Howie Kendrick likes them out in front so he can come across the bag, but when a speedy runner is coming toward second base on a slow roller, he expects the feed from the shortstop off to his right so he can use the bag as protection, and Aybar used to put it there every single time.
That's the kind of chemistry you build after turning double plays together for the better part of 10 years.
This spring, Kendrick is at Dodgers camp in Glendale and Aybar is going to have to build that chemistry with someone else.
"Howie and I came up together as kids," Aybar said in Spanish upon arriving at the Angels' Spring Training facility on Monday. "It's not the same when you have all those years playing with the same guy, from the Minor Leagues to here. But I wish him all the best. He knows he can count on me. It's baseball. One day you're here, the next day you don't know. The guys we have competing are good kids; they know how to play the position. I'll adjust with whoever they put there."
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.
Before Kendrick was dealt to the Dodgers for young starter Andrew Heaney in December, he and Aybar were the second-longest-tenured double-play tandem in the Majors, trailing only Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, who soon after joined Kendrick in Los Angeles.
Aybar said the trade "surprised me a little bit."
"Howie is a great teammate, always messing with someone, never upset," Aybar added. "He brought a lot of energy. But they make the decisions and we can't do anything about it. That's the game."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.