Tag:Kendrys Morales
Posted on: December 8, 2011 6:45 pm
 

Angels' lineup will change "100%" with Pujols

Shortly after the Angels won a bidding war against the Miami Marlins and secured free agent left-hander C.J. Wilson in the early morning hours Thursday, the pitcher spoke with the general manager of his old team, the Texas Rangers, in a farewell conversation.

"Is there any way," Texas GM Jon Daniels joked, "that I can convince you to go to the Marlins?"

And that was before Albert Pujols committed to the Angels.

Yes, the landscape changed rapidly in the AL West this week and, as things go on paper in the winter-time, the Angels positioned themselves as the potential division favorites heading into 2012.

That's as of today, and who knows what happens tomorrow. The ultra-aggressive Rangers surely will answer the Angels moves -- Prince Fielder? -- and the earth could yet shift again before spring training.

"It's crazy," Wilson said. "With Albert going, there's a big swing on the balance of power in the West.

"I thought I would make a difference, but he makes a huge difference. Nobody saw that coming."

Indeed.

"I'm shocked about Anaheim swooping into it," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

As if it wasn't stunning enough that the Angels hauled in Pujols (10 years, $254 million), Wilson (five years, $77.5 million) and reliever LaTroy Hawkins (one year, $3 million) during the final 12 hours of the winter meetings, the suits in the organization say they will not look to trade anyone.

Mark Trumbo, who played first last year and will be replaced by Pujols? He's taking ground balls at third base, a position of weakness.

Kendrys Morales, who played first two years ago? Unlike last year, the Angels are proceeding with caution after a second ankle surgery caused him to miss all of 2011.

Veterans outfielders Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Vernon Wells and young speedsters Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout also will fit in, somewhere, somehow.

"You have the opportunity from an offensive perspective to plug one of the great hitters of all time into the middle of your lineup," Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said. "And we feel like you can never have too much depth.

"As it pertains to Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales, we still have the benefit of playing in the American League, where we have first base at-bats, we have DH at-bats, corner outfielders at-bats.

"And we've discussed as we've gone through and into this season to date, Mark Trumbo is particularly athletic for his size. The power leads you to believe first base, but he's got a little bit of history at third base and in the outfield. We know those DH bats are there.

"We are still unaware of exactly the timetable for Kendrys Morales. But if we have all three healthy and clicking on all cylinders, we're going to be in a really good position."

One of Dipoto's most important early goals is to improve an Angels' lineup that was 11th in the American League in on-base percentage last year. Pujols' career .420 OBP ranks second in the majors among active players.

"One-hundred percent he'll change our lineup," Hunter said. "The way pitchers approach us, he's one guy who can change the whole lineup. You put Pujols in any lineup, any lineup, and it will be better."

The Angels could not have stunned the baseball industry more. Word of Pujols' signing broke just before 9 a.m. local time, just as executives from every club were gathering for the annual Rule V draft.

Even inside their organization, there was a sense of disbelief.

"This is crazy," Hunter said. "I'm so excited right now it's unbelievable. I'm just happy we have this chance. We've got a legitimate chance."

Hunter was working out at the Dallas branch of the Athletes' Performance Institute with pitchers LaTroy Hawkins (who signed with the Angels on Wednesday night, less than 24 hours ahead of Pujols and C.J. Wilson), Joel Hanrahan (Pirates closer), Jamey Wright (Mariners) and several young prospects when he learned the news.

"Everyone went crazy when it came up on the phone," Hunter said. "I am trippin' right now."
Posted on: December 8, 2011 6:42 pm
 

Angels lineup will change "100%" with Pujols

Shortly after the Angels won a bidding war against the Miami Marlins and secured free agent left-hander C.J. Wilson in the early morning hours Thursday, the pitcher spoke with the general manager of his old team, the Texas Rangers, in a farewell conversation.

"Is there any way," Texas GM Jon Daniels joked, "that I can convince you to go to the Marlins?"

And that was before Albert Pujols committed to the Angels.

Yes, the landscape changed rapidly in the AL West this week and, as things go on paper in the winter-time, the Angels positioned themselves as the potential division favorites heading into 2012.

That's as of today, and who knows what happens tomorrow. The ultra-aggressive Rangers surely will answer the Angels moves -- Prince Fielder? -- and the earth could yet shift again before spring training.

"It's crazy," Wilson said. "With Albert going, there's a big swing on the balance of power in the West.

"I thought I would make a difference, but he makes a huge difference. Nobody saw that coming."

Indeed.

"I'm shocked about Anaheim swooping into it," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

As if it wasn't stunning enough that the Angels hauled in Pujols (10 years, $254 million), Wilson (five years, $77.5 million) and reliever LaTroy Hawkins (one year, $3 million) during the final 12 hours of the winter meetings, the suits in the organization say they will not look to trade anyone.

Mark Trumbo, who played first last year and will be replaced by Pujols? He's taking ground balls at third base, a position of weakness.

Kendrys Morales, who played first two years ago? Unlike last year, the Angels are proceeding with caution after a second ankle surgery caused him to miss all of 2011.

Veterans outfielders Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Vernon Wells and young speedsters Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout also will fit in, somewhere, somehow.

"You have the opportunity from an offensive perspective to plug one of the great hitters of all time into the middle of your lineup," Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said. "And we feel like you can never have too much depth.

"As it pertains to Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales, we still have the benefit of playing in the American League, where we have first base at-bats, we have DH at-bats, corner outfielders at-bats.

"And we've discussed as we've gone through and into this season to date, Mark Trumbo is particularly athletic for his size. The power leads you to believe first base, but he's got a little bit of history at third base and in the outfield. We know those DH bats are there.

"We are still unaware of exactly the timetable for Kendrys Morales. But if we have all three healthy and clicking on all cylinders, we're going to be in a really good position."

One of Dipoto's most important early goals is to improve an Angels' lineup that was 11th in the American League in on-base percentage last year. Pujols' career .420 OBP ranks second in the majors among active players.

"One-hundred percent he'll change our lineup," Hunter said. "The way pitchers approach us, he's one guy who can change the whole lineup. You put Pujols in any lineup, any lineup, and it will be better."

The Angels could not have stunned the baseball industry more. Word of Pujols' signing broke just before 9 a.m. local time, just as executives from every club were gathering for the annual Rule V draft.

Even inside their organization, there was a sense of disbelief.

"This is crazy," Hunter said. "I'm so excited right now it's unbelievable. I'm just happy we have this chance. We've got a legitimate chance."

Hunter was working out at the Dallas branch of the Athletes' Performance Institute with pitchers LaTroy Hawkins (who signed with the Angels on Wednesday night, less than 24 hours ahead of Pujols and C.J. Wilson), Joel Hanrahan (Pirates closer), Jamey Wright (Mariners) and several young prospects when he learned the news.

"Everyone went crazy when it came up on the phone," Hunter said. "I am trippin' right now."
Posted on: July 26, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 1:07 pm
 

Angels looking for bat, target third baseman

Even after rookie closer Jordan Walden blew his major-league leading seventh save Monday night, the Angels' top priority is to add a bat this week before the trade deadline, according to CBSSports.com sources, preferably a third baseman.

The Cubs' Aramis Ramirez and the Twins' Michael Cuddyer are two of the players the Angels have discussed internally, according to sources, but neither seems likely at this point early in the week.

Ramirez so far has indicated an unwillingness to waive his blanket no-trade clause.

As for the versatile Cuddyer -- whose limited no-trade clause involves only three clubs, none of them Los Angeles -- the Angels have considered taking a run at him and plugging him in at third base. But Minnesota so far refuses to concede in a tepid AL Central.

Sources with knowledge of the Twins' maneuverings say they remain in go-for-it mode and are casting a wide net for available relief pitchers to add to Joe Nathan and Matt Capps at the back end of their bullpen.

The Twins, after getting blown out 20-6 in Texas on Monday in a game in which Cuddyer became the first position player to pitch for them since 1990, are fourth in the division behind Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago -- but only seven games out.

Without Kendrys Morales this summer, and with age appearing to chip away at Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu, the Angels rank 11th in the American League in runs scored, and 10th in both slugging and on-base percentage. They're second in the AL West, four games behind Texas heading into Tuesday night's games.

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 1:03 pm
 

Without Kendrys, Angels lean on Kendrick

Well, that sure went pffft in a hurry at the Big A.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia last Dec. 7: "We fully anticipate Kendrys Morales back doing what he wants to, or what he can do."

Angels orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum on May 11: "Kendrys worked as hard as any athlete I've ever worked with in coming back from a devastating injury, and he hasn't been able to do it."

So, to review how this week has gone for the Angels: Morales to the surgeon's table (again), and Vernon Wells to the disabled list (groin). Groan, and grin. What are you going to do? Especially with a big weekend series coming up in Texas.

For now, in a move reminiscent of Chone Figgins' versatility, Howard Kendrick is grabbing his outfield glove.

After Wells left in the fourth inning Monday, Kendrick started each of the next two games in left field.

Total major-league time in the outfield for Kendrick since 2006 until now: Two-thirds of an inning, in center field, last year. Mostly, Kendrick has played second base for the Angels, with some first base mixed in.

"There's no question he can move around," Scioscia says. "Howie's a terrific athlete. He has the speed to play center field. Outfield is a great option for a guy with his athleticism."

The overriding factor is that the Angels want to make sure Kendrick's bat stays in the lineup. He's hitting .320 through the first 38 games, with a .381 on-base percentage. Torii Hunter has been predicting for years that Kendrick one day will win a batting title. Until now, nobody ever figured it could be as an outfielder.

But while Morales is out for the season, the Angels do not expect Wells to be out much more than a couple of weeks. So don't get any ideas about Kendrick permanently moving to the outfield.

"We're doing this purely on a need basis," Scioscia says. "He shags balls, he's fine tracking the ball, he runs good routes ... I don't think it's too far removed to ask a player to do what he's doing."

-- Kendrick's move is a little like that of the Twins' Michael Cuddyer in reverse. When Orlando Hudson went down last year, manager Ron Gardenhire for a time moved Cuddyer, a former high school shortstop, from right field to second base.

-- Three key young players playing unexpected pivotal roles for the Angels each was drafted under Eddie Bane, who was fired as the Angels' director of scouting last fall: Pitcher Tyler Chatwood (second round, 2008), first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo (18th round, 2004) and catcher Hank Conger (first round, 2006). Also chosen under Bane: Mike Trout, currently at Double-A Arkansas and listed by Baseball America as the game's second-best prospect. Just sayin'.

-- Talk to me about that Giants' pitching: Look who's back in first place in the NL West following a picture-perfect homestand in which they swept division rivals Colorado (three games) and Arizona (three more). And as is always the case with San Francisco, the prime reasons for the surge are cats named Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, etc. In making their move this week, the Giants, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, became the first team in major league history to sweep a homestand of six-or-more games without scoring more than four runs in any game.

-- Most stunning statistic of the year: Tampa Bay through midweek had the best bullpen in the American League based on its league-leading 2.71 ERA (fourth-best in the majors). For a team that was forced to replace seven of its top eighth relievers from 2010 over the winter (based on innings pitched), you sure couldn't tell.

-- The flip side of that preceding Rays' bullpen statistic, though, is this: As it so often is with good bullpens, no small part of the Rays' success can be attributed to a knockout rotation that works deep into games and does not overtax the relievers. While the Rays' bullpen ERA is the AL's best, their 93 innings pitched are the fewest of any big league bullpen.

-- A few more things on this crazy White Sox six-man rotation: Pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Ozzie Guillen have instructed the four starters not named Mark Buehrle or Jake Peavy -- that would be John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Edwin Jackson and Phil Humber -- to be prepared to work out of the bullpen, if needed, on the second and third days after their starts. "We don't want to use them, and we'll try not to use them," Cooper says.

-- Another benefit, from the Sox's view, of the six-man rotation: "If one of them is at seven innings and 95 pitches, he can go back out there because he'll have an extra day [before his next start]," Cooper says. The pitching coach also has delivered a pre-emptive strike against any moaning by someone claiming to be thrown off rhythm after a loss: He's told each of his starters that "the only people who have a right to be thrown out of whack by this are the opposing hitters, not us."

-- One side benefit of Jake Peavy's last minor-league rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte, at Toledo, last week: He was able to share a beer and catch up with ex-teammate Phil Nevin following the game. Nevin is managing the Mud Hens.

-- Cool promotion of the year: Farmer John, which makes Dodger Dogs, is donating 30,000 pounds of food to local food banks on the heels of Andre Ethier's 30-game hitting streak. Farmer John already is donating 1,000 pounds of food for every Ethier homer this year.

-- News that Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew has entered hospice care and is in the final days of his treatment for cancer is a blow. Killebrew is one of the game's true gentlemen, just a prince of a man who means so much to the Twins family. Prayers for him and family on this incredibly sad weekend.

Likes: The Orioles continue to show grit under manager Buck Showalter. Thursday night's win over Seattle was a terrific game, scoreless into the 12th, and it was one the old Orioles would have lost when the Mariners scored in the top of the 12th. ... Who is this Carlos Beltran man who slugged three homers the other day? ... SiriusXM radio and the MLB package. So cool to be able to listen to every game and each team's broadcasting crew. ... Steve Earle on Treme last week. ... The Cars on tour beginning Thursday night in Los Angeles. What the heck, as long as Ric Ocasek is along for the ride. ...

Dislikes: Ernie Harwell, Sparky Anderson, and now Harmon Killebrew says he is in his final days. We've lost some really special people over the past year, some all-time nice guys.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"As time wore on you proved
"A debt-ridden drunken mess
"Leaving my mother
"A poor consumptive wretch
"And then you disappeared
"Your gambling arrears
"The only thing you left behind
"And then the magistrate
"Reclaimed our small estate
"And my poor mother lost her mind"

-- The Decemberists, The Mariner's Revenge Song

Posted on: May 11, 2011 10:50 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Angels' Kendrys Morales done for the year

Angels manager Mike Scioscia talked as far back as the winter meetings in Florida last December of how important slugging first baseman Kendrys Morales would be in the middle of the 2011 lineup, but Morales on Wednesday went from a late-starter to non-starter.

In a devastating blow to the Angels, Morales will undergo a second surgery on his troubled left ankle and miss the entire season.

The Angels said early this spring that they thought Morales would be healed and ready to go by opening day after undergoing surgery early last June to repair a fractured left ankle suffered when he leaped onto home plate after hitting a game-ending grand slam last May 29.

However, Morales' ankle did not respond this spring when he tried to run on it and he never could get liftoff. He never could run at full speed this spring, and he never improved. As Scioscia said, he "plateaued."

That carried into the season -- he's been on the disabled list since opening day -- and Morales on Tuesday traveled to Colorado to see a specialist to get a second opinion.

That opinion led to his decision a day later to undergo another surgery -- still unscheduled -- that will clean out debris and scar tissue. Angels orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum said the doctors in Colorado will begin the surgery arthroscopically and hope to conclude it that way. There is the chance, however, that they would have to go into the ankle again. Morales is expected to schedule the surgery soon.

"Kendrys has worked as hard as any athlete I've ever worked with in coming back from a devastating injury, and he hasn't been able to do it," Yocum said.

The remaining options were to continue to treat the injury and healing process conservatively, or to undergo another surgery.

"Did I think I'd be at this point? No," Morales said through a translator as the Angels played the White Sox on Wednesday. "But, obviously, I think this is the best decision."

Morales slugged 34 home runs, collected 108 RBI and finished fifth in the AL MVP balloting in 2009. He was hitting .290 with 11 homers and 39 RBI through 51 games at the time of his injury last May.

The Angels were planning on his bat returning as a major weapon in 2011.

But they and Yocum said Morales will be out a "minimum of six months" following this second surgery.

"It's definitely a challenge for us, not having Kendrys," general manager Tony Reagins said. "He's a significant part of what we do. In the middle of our lineup, he's definitely a significant bat."

But the Angels learned to play without him last year, Reagins said, and they must do the same in 2011. Of course, the Angels also finished 80-82 without him last summer.

 

Posted on: May 6, 2011 10:45 pm
 

Angels' Morales consults with doctors

Kendrys Morales, the still-disabled Angels' first baseman, consulted with a couple of doctors Friday while trying to get his rehabilitation back on track.

But there is no change yet in the status of the hobbled slugger, so don't hold your breath on his return.

Morales met with Dr. Phil Kwong, the surgeon who operated on his fractured left foot last May, and Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' team orthopedist, in an effort to figure out something that will get him back on the field. Running continues to be the chief problem: Morales has not been bothered by baseball activity, but he has hit multiple setbacks over the past several weeks when he has tried to run.

"He will start running again, but he will not do any baseball activity as of yet," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Morales was heavy when he reported to spring training, but Scioscia said he's since lost weight.

Scioscia said he's not surprised the injury has taken so long to heal, though he did admit to a level of frustration.

"Surprised? No," Scioscia said. "There's been some frustration because he's been with the club and, at times, you think he's good to be on the field, and then there's a plateau."

Posted on: April 25, 2011 9:22 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 9:24 pm
 

Kendrys Morales still struggling in rehab

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Mark Trumbo's .225 batting average, three homers and nine RBI are going to have to do for awhile longer. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before Monday's series opener against Oakland that Kendrys Morales' rehab is, well, about where it was the last time we heard.

"His progress has been slow," Scioscia said of Morales, whose rehabilitation moves to the Angels' extended spring training camp in Arizona when the team is on the road. "He's having problems getting full explosion when he runs."

There are two types of running Morales has been doing this spring while coming back from a fractured left leg, suffered in late May, and subsequent surgery: Straight-ahead running, and running in which he makes turns, or curves.

He's been all but unable to do the latter without feeling pain in the leg, which is a serious obstacle given that he is going to have to be able to go full tilt around the bases before being activated.

The Angels curbed Morales' rehabilitation in mid-March, after he began feeling pain in the ball of his left foot. He resumed his rehabilitation on April 12 but, nearly two weeks later, he appears no closer to returning than he did then.

The Angels have been scuffling badly offensively and enter Monday's series opener against Oakland having not scored in their past 19 innings. Morales in 2009 finished fifth in the AL MVP voting after slugging 34 homers with 108 RBIs and hitting .306.

Whenever he is cleared to play, he's expected to go on a minor-league injury rehabilitation assignment so he can see live pitching in game situations. That likely will run somewhere from 10 to 20 games -- 40 to 60 at-bats, Scioscia says.

 
 
 
 
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