The last time Kendrys Morales played in a game that counted at all, his first name was Kendry.
That was the 29th of May, 2010; he hit a game-winning grand slam in the 10th inning, and destroyed his tibia upon jumping on home plate.
Hey, don't blame the jump (even though the Angelsstill adhere to safety-first rules when celebrating); Morales probably had some weakness in that leg, which would eventually have given way, somehow. Still, you never know. Maybe if Morales hadn't celebrated his walk-off job so vigorously, everything would be different. Maybe Albert Pujols wouldn't be an Orange County Angel today, because Morales would have established himself as a star; before getting hurt, he seemed well on his way.
Thursday afternoon, Kendrys Morales played in a real game for the first time this spring, and collected a couple of hits against the Royals. Maybe he's really back this time. Which will present manager Mike Scioscia with a mighty interesting decision. Rotoworld opines of Morales, "Barring a setback, we're expecting him to be the team's Opening Day DH."
Perhaps. But if the switch-hitting Morales becomes the full-time DH, there's not a natural spot for Bobby Abreu, who's making $9 million this season. And if Abreu goes to left field, there's not a spot, natural or otherwise, for Vernon Wells, who's making $21 million this season ... not to mention $21 million next season, and another sweet $21 million the next season.
Of course, Scioscia could mix-and-match all three of those hitters, depending on who's pitching and who's healthy, and maybe add Mark Trumbo to the mélange, too. That is, after all, Scioscia's job. But if Kendrys Morales is really back, he should play regularly this season. In which case, there simply won't be room for everyone else.
Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales' rehab from a leg injury a year ago isn't going the way the team would've hoped. After being seen by a specialist, Morales is back in Arizona. Writes Kevin Baxter:
Morales, out because of a broken ankle since May, took a step backward in his rehab when he returned to the team's training base in Arizona after being reexamined Wednesday by Dr. Phil Kwong, a foot and ankle specialist.
"I don't think there's much that we can do differently right now. Just have to be patient," Scioscia said. "There's a lot that's healing in there with his ankle. And some parts are just very, very slow."
Morales can only recover as quickly as he can recover, and no faster than that, and at this point even seeing him back in June seems like a long shot. Until he can come back, the Angels will keep leaning on rookie Mark Trumbo, who to date has batted .239 with four home runs but a troubling one unintentional walk to go with 23 strikeouts. Trumbo's OBP is a lowly .264.
Having stalled again in his ongoing attempt to rejoin the Angels' lineup following surgery on his lower left leg, Kendrys Morales is being examined by a foot specialist.
Morales' inability to run 100 percent and make the necessary cuts and turns on the bases is keeping him from returning even though he has had no trouble swinging the bat and has been able to field ground balls at first base.
The Angels have held their own without Morales, fighting the Rangers for first place through the season's first month. They opened the season with Mark Trumbo at first base, but his recent struggles have gotten him benched, and the Angels have been going with a new-look lineup that includes erstwhile second baseman Howie Kendrick at first base and rookie Alexi Amarista at second.
Considering Vernon Wells' performance and the back end of their rotation, the Angels have bigger problems than first base. Still, getting Morales back in action would give Mike Scioscia some attractive options.