ARLINGTON -- Angels designated hitter Kendrys Morales was out of the lineup against Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish on Friday, due to tightness in his left Achilles tendon that he doesn't expect to keep him out much longer.
Morales had been playing with pain in the area -- which falls dangerously close to the left ankle that was operated on twice and cost him almost two full seasons -- for three to four days. On Friday morning, he called Dr. Thomas Clanton, who performed his second ankle surgery in Vail, Colo., then the Angels decided to keep him off it so it doesn't become more serious.
"[Clanton] told me that's normal for that to bother me," Morales said in Spanish, "and that I needed to take a day or two off to rest since I had gone so long without playing regularly -- almost two years -- and that there's no real risk if it's the Achilles. He said it's normal. The tendon is just tight.
"I'm feeling better already. I told [Scioscia] if he needed me to hit later in the game today, I should be ready."
But Morales' ailment means the Angels would be without their cleanup hitter -- and, considering his .315 batting average and .768 OPS, one of their few productive hitters -- for at least the opener of a big series against their division rivals.
Friday marked just the second day off Morales has received against a right-hander -- also the Yankees' Ivan Nova on April 15 -- with Mark Trumbo getting the nod at designated hitter, instead.
Morales hasn't received a cortisone shot. For now, he's taking anti-inflammatory pills, and if that doesn't work, they'll start giving him shots to loosen up the tendon. The 28-year-old switch-hitter said his latest lower-leg pain isn't related to the ankle that was operated on twice. But for a guy who lost that much time due to procedures on an area which falls that close, anything like this is a red flag.
And that's why Morales decided to be cautious.
"Today I just decided to take the day off to see if it goes away," Morales said. "I was playing with a little bit of pain, but it's better to lose one or two days than to lose the whole season."