This had been the day Scioscia had projected for Morales to begin playing under game conditions to be ready for the March 31 opener in Kansas City, but the first baseman's recent issues with his left big toe have prevented him from cutting loose in his running sufficiently to clear the final hurdle.
"That's what's going to happen," Scioscia said when asked about Morales starting on the DL. "It would be wrong to try, even if he feels better in three or four days, to fire him up for Opening Day. That's not fair to ask of a guy [who is] getting ready for a long season.
2010 Spring Training - null
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"The good thing is that Kendrys has been able to hit and field. He just needs to see [game] velocity in the batter's box and [start] running. He's reached a plateau -- good word for it, since it's the toe. Underneath the ball of the foot is the crux of what's going on.
"The issue's with his shoes, his spikes; they're a little narrow. The ankle is where it should be. Hopefully, we're going to contain the issue with the toe, tone it down."
Morales fractured his lower left leg on May 29, jumping on home plate after a game-winning grand slam at Angel Stadium. He was fifth in the 2009 American League MVP balloting after a breakout year, hitting .306 with 34 homers and 108 RBIs. In 51 games last season, he batted .290 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs.
Mark Trumbo, who has put together impressive numbers this spring after a dominant season both in the Pacific Coast League and Venezuelan Winter League, is the heir apparent at first in Morales' absence. Also on the depth chart are Brandon Wood, Howard Kendrick, Bobby Wilson and Chris Pettit.