It's a great story line … if only it were true.
The fact is, Giavotella, a second-round pick of the Royals in 2008, started 46 games for Kansas City in both 2011 and 2012, and he didn't play well enough to unseat starting second baseman
Giavotella, 27, spent most of 2013 and 2014 at triple-A Omaha, while Getz,
The Angels acquired Giavotella for journeyman minor league pitcher
"Any time you're called up to the big leagues, it's an opportunity to show them what you can do at this level," said Giavotella, who entered 2015 with a .238 average in 125 big league games. "If it's 10 at-bats or 100 at-bats, you have to utilize that to your advantage.
"Unfortunately, in Kansas City, I don't think I made a big enough impression for them to feel confident enough to put me in the lineup every day at second base, so they chose to go with other guys."
Giavotella has a true sense of himself and his abilities, and that should help him as he replaces
The 5-foot-8, 185-pound Giavotella knows he won't hit for the kind of average or power that Kendrick provided for almost a decade in Anaheim. He knows it could take several years to become as proficient defensively as Kendrick.
But that won't prevent him from being the best Johnny Giavotella he can be, and that might be good enough for the Angels.
"I really don't think about trying to fill Howie's shoes," Giavotella said. "If I try to do more than I'm capable of doing, I'll just fall flat on my face and fail. If I go out there and have confidence in my abilities, stay relaxed and play hard, I know good things will happen. God gave me a certain set of talents. I'm going to play to the best of those talents and not try to be anybody else but myself."
Giavotella brings high energy and effort, an ability to get on base and drive in runs and to make the plays he should make in the field.
His diminutive size, skill set and attitude are somewhat reminiscent of
Giavotella won the second-base job in
"There certainly was an energy that he brought in spring training," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "No doubt, at the time we were making the decision, he was swinging the bat better and making the routine plays in the field."
Giavotella is off to a solid start, going four for nine (.444) in the season-opening series at Seattle. Now he'll get a chance to play against many of the friends and teammates he came up with in the Royals system, players such as
"I have a pretty good rapport with those guys; it will be nice to see them," Giavotella said. "But I don't think they'll like me as much being on a different team."
Garrett Richards, who is recovering from left-knee surgery, threw 96 pitches in seven innings of a minor league intrasquad game in Arizona on Thursday, giving up two earned runs and four hits, striking out 12 and walking three. Barring setback, the hard-throwing right-hander will begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment next week with an eye toward returning to the Angels rotation by late April.