Mike Scioscia: Kendry Morales close
TEMPE, Ariz. -- First baseman Kendry Morales, whose 2010 season came to an end when he broke his leg while jumping on home plate to celebrate a game-ending grand slam, should be ready to play by Opening Day, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Friday.
Whether Morales can play the field this spring could alter multiple defensive positions.
"There's a range with an injury like this on exactly where a guy's going to be and actually he's doing very well with his running pressure on the treadmill," Scioscia said. "There's some work to do, but there's enough time to get through this process to get him ready for the season."
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Morales is expected to see early season action as a designated hitter.
Should his recovery extend into the regular season and leave him at DH, Scioscia could be forced to alter what figures to be a set outfield of Vernon Wells in left field, Peter Bourjos in center and Torii Hunter in right in order to keep current DH Bobby Abreu's bat in the lineup.
"When [Morales] gets to 100 percent, he'll be out on the field," Scioscia said. "What the time table [is] for that to happen, remains to be seen. We've got a long way until Opening Day. I don't think he's going to need 80, 90, 100 at-bats to be ready.
"The last week, 10 days of spring training, hopefully he'll be in the rotation at first base."
Scioscia added Morales would hit every day if he needed, either during games or on practice fields, and that the time needed for a player to be ready to play defense is less than the time it takes a hitter.
Scioscia's outfield situation is unusual, considering he'll be playing two corner outfielders with a combined nine Gold Glove awards for their center-field play.
Wells, who won Gold Gloves in 2004, '05 and '06, has not played anywhere but center field since 2002, when he got in 13 games in right field with Toronto.
Hunter, who began as a corner outfielder with Minnesota, had not played anywhere but center field since 2000, when he got in one game as a left fielder. He played 46 games in right field with the Angels last season, the season he had his string of nine consecutive Golden Glove awards for his play in center field snapped.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press