Morales racks up four hits, runs bases safely

Morales racks up four hits, runs bases safely

Morales racks up four hits, runs bases safely
ANAHEIM -- By simply stepping into the batter's box for his first regular-season game in more than 22 months, Kendrys Morales hit a big milestone on Friday night.

On Saturday afternoon, the switch-hitting slugger took it to another level, going 4-for-4 while providing the only real offensive spark for the Angels in his first start against a right-handed pitcher.

"I worked really hard in Spring Training," Morales said in Spanish, "and now I'm bringing that all to the regular season, and it's going good so far."

Morales went 0-for-2 from the right side on Friday, then singled from the left side of the plate before being replaced by pinch-runner Alexi Amarista in the eighth inning. On Saturday, he singled to left twice and to right once against Royals righty Luke Hochevar. Then, in the ninth, Morales doubled into the right-center-field gap off another righty, Jonathan Broxton, making him 5-for-7 to start the year.

Perhaps the best sign for Morales -- who batted .367 with a couple of homers while playing 13 spring games during his second comeback from a major injury -- is that he looks fine running the bases.

The 28-year-old had somewhat of an awkward moment in the seventh, when he hesitated on a bloop single to right field and had to retreat to third base, but Morales said that had more to do with continuing to adjust to game speed than trusting his recovering left ankle.

"I've pushed it pretty hard the last few days, and I haven't had any signs of extra pain or anything," Morales said after his club's 6-3 loss. "I've been running the bases for a while now. I've gotten a little bit more confidence in it these last few days, and every day I'm feeling better and better."