Trout makes spring debut, but not Morales

Trout makes spring debut, but not Morales

Trout makes spring debut, but not Morales
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- One of the Angels' most talked-about players made his first Cactus League appearance as the designated hitter against the Royals on Tuesday.

One did -- but not the one they expected.

Kendrys Morales, still working his way back from a broken left ankle that has sidelined him for 1 1/2 seasons, felt some tightness in his right calf during Monday's appearance in a Minor League game and decided to take some extra time to rest. So instead, premier prospect Mike Trout, sidelined nearly all spring with a nasty virus, got the nod as the DH in the No. 8 spot of the lineup.

Trout finished 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk, and was caught stealing, but also legged out an eventual error on a comebacker and ran the bases with no problems.

Trout, who lost 10 pounds because of the illness, had at-bats via Minor League games on Saturday and Monday, but he won't be able to play the field for about a week because of ongoing tendinitis in his right shoulder.

"I just want to get it stronger," said Trout, who is ranked by as the No. 3 prospect in baseball and is almost guaranteed to start the season in Triple-A. "It's just been tight. It won't affect my playing. I'm still getting my at-bats, doing fundamentals and stuff before the game. Once my arm gets back and stronger, I'll be out there playing defense, too."

Morales played in Minor League games in three of the last four days. He was supposed to get four to six at-bats on Monday, but he stopped after going 0-for-3 because of tightness in the calf over which he wears a compression sleeve.

The Angels have an off-day on Wednesday, so they figured it'd be best for Morales to get the extra time and instead make his Cactus League debut on Thursday, at home against the Royals.

Morales said Tuesday morning that he feels fine.

"Just a little bit sore," he added in Spanish. "I'll be out there Thursday."

Manager Mike Scioscia said his confidence in Morales having enough time to be ready by Opening Day "hasn't diminished at all."

"His legs are moving great, his ankle's great, it's just getting your legs in shape," Scioscia said. "In some ways, it's a good sign that he gets a little bit tight in some of the muscles you would expect. You certainly have to monitor it. We're very pleased with where he is, and hopefully he's going to get to it."