Slow and steady, Morales on the move

Slow and steady, Morales on the move

Slow and steady, Morales on the move
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- All the Angels truly want from Kendrys Morales -- and all they can really hope for -- is that he finds some of that offensive prowess he put on display a couple of seasons ago.

But even though a broken left ankle has sidelined him since May 2010, and he was never really a burner on the basepaths to begin with, manager Mike Scioscia doesn't expect Morales to lose much of his original speed.

"I think it's just a comfort level of where he is," Scioscia said. "His times are not that far off from where he was a couple years ago. A little bit down, which is obviously something you would expect, but I think there's still upside."

Morales played in his third Minor League game in four days while the Angels played the Rockies at Talking Stick on Monday. The most positive sign from those contests came Saturday, when Morales singled, stayed on the bases, then scored from first on a triple with little problem and no pain.

The Angels aren't counting on Morales to play much first base now that Albert Pujols is on board.

But they do expect him to eventually run like he used to.

"You're seeing his stride lengthen to a normal gait, and I think as that happens, I think some of that quickness will pick up, and I think he's going to have to play himself into shape," Scioscia said. "He's a guy that has had to really work hard at the conditioning aspect, because it's tough to get conditioned when you can't work your lower body. ... The thing that's going to get him in shape now is playing, and I think that's when we'll see him start to move a little bit better."

The initial plan was for Morales to begin appearing in Cactus League games as a designated hitter on Tuesday, but an on-site report from the Orange County Register said Morales experienced some soreness in his right shin after going 0-for-3 against the Triple-A Cubs on Monday.

The Angels have a scheduled day off on Wednesday, so they may decide to sit Morales against the Royals so he has extra time to heal.