Kendrys feels strong after three straight starts

Kendrys feels strong after three straight starts

Kendrys feels strong after three straight starts
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Kendrys Morales took a scheduled day off Sunday, fresh from completing a string of three straight Cactus League games that saw him homer, hit four singles and score two runs in nine plate appearances.

Morales reported that he was in good health Sunday, and manager Mike Scioscia plans to play his recovering slugger in at least three games in a row on Monday (at home against the Rockies), Tuesday (in a Minor League game while the Angels travel to face the Giants) and Wednesday (in Goodyear, where the Reds will play with a designated hitter).

"He's turning it loose," Scioscia said. "His swing is there. His bat speed is there. It's a matter of timing and just getting acclimated to hitting the baseball, which is something he's done all his life. Right now, I think if you ask him how he feels, it's not much different than probably when he was swinging the bat early in 2010."

Scioscia had targeted somewhere in the range of 50 plate appearances for Morales this spring. So far, if you count the Minor League games he played in before jumping over to the Major League side, he's had 21. And that number could be up to 40 by the time the Angels break camp next Monday for three exhibition games against the Dodgers in Southern California.

Point is, it's looking more and more likely that the switch-hitting Morales will be on the Angels' Opening Day roster.

During the season, Scioscia envisions the majority of Morales' off-days coming against left-handers, because the Angels -- whose lineup tends to lean pretty heavily to the right -- will need his lefty presence against righties as often as possible.

"Whenever he's available, we're going to need him against right-handed pitching," Scioscia said. "Against left-handed pitching -- whether you talk about [Maicer] Izturis or [Alberto] Callaspo or [Mark] Trumbo -- I think there's going to be a right-handed bat you can slot in there."