Morales holds out hope he can play in opener

Morales holds out hope he can play in opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The date circled on Kendrys Morales' calendar -- or highlighted on his cellphone -- is March 20. The Angels' first baseman needs to be fit enough to run in game conditions by Sunday to realistically carve out a spot in the Opening Day lineup 11 days later in Kansas City.

"He still has some things he needs to do before he gets in games," manager Mike Scioscia said on Wednesday, Morales having run base to base a day earlier in his latest progression from left ankle surgery. "Running the bases is one of them.

"Defensively and in the batter's box, he feels good. His window is coming up. He has to get in games, whether here or a camp game, by the 20th to give himself [enough time] to get not only healthy, but locked in. With every injury, the rehab is going to be on its own time. He's night and day from where he was when he came into camp. He's close."

Morales said he had no problems running base to base, and that the ankle felt fine afterward. He is not sure if he'll be ready to assume his role at first base or serve as a designated hitter by Opening Day.

If Morales can't make it, Mark Trumbo -- one of the game's hottest hitters this spring -- will be at first base with Bobby Abreu in the DH role. If Morales can only appear in the lineup as the DH, Abreu likely goes to left and Vernon Wells to center, with Peter Bourjos the odd man out.

Bourjos also has enjoyed a strong spring and gives the Angels a defensive presence in center field they love -- especially fly-ball pitchers such as Jered Weaver.