Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/9/12
It took two surgeries and nearly two years but Kendrys Morales has finally returned to the Angels lineup. "We feel good for Kendrys because we know what a struggle it's been for him," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Morales' long but -- finally -- successful -- comeback from a fractured left ankle suffered on May 29, 2010. "To see him come back and just be playing baseball again -- hopefully at the level he was at in '09 -- is important to us. ... It's his career and we hope he gets back on track to where he was." It might be asking too much of Morales to expect him to regain his 2009 form any time soon. In his only full major league season to date, Morales hit .306 with 34 home runs and 108 RBI and finished fifth in the voting for the 2009 AL MVP. In 2010, he was off to a similar start, batting .290 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI in 51 games before his devastating leg injury. "I don't feel exactly like I did in 2010 (before the injury)," Morales said through an interpreter. "I feel like I can get there. If I keep working and getting better and better every day, I'll get there." He hit well during spring training and had five hits in his first seven regular-season at-bats. The Angels will watch his legs carefully for any signs that the return to action after such a long time on the sidelines is wearing on him. Against left-handed pitchers, the switch-hitting Morales will bat lower in the lineup (he was sixth against Royals lefties Bruce Chen and Jonathan Sanchez this weekend). But against right-handers, the Angels need his left-handed power behind Albert Pujols in a lineup that leans very heavily to the right. "They're putting a lot of confidence in me, putting me up there considering the amount of time I've missed," Morales said of batting behind Pujols. "It kind of pushes me harder." NOTES, QUOTES Trumbo making mistakes at third --3B Mark Trumbo made his second start of the season at third base Sunday -- and made his third error. Trumbo made two errors in his third baseman debut on Friday (one on a throw and one on a foul popup he misjudged). Sunday's error came in the sixth inning, when he bobbled a ground ball. --1B Albert Pujols went hitless in four plate appearances in his Angels debut on Friday, but has begun to warm up since. He was 3-for-7 with two doubles and two walks on Saturday and Sunday. Pujols was on base four times in Sunday's loss (two hits and two walks), but the three hitters behind him went a combined 1-for-14 with seven strikeouts. --RHP Kevin Jepsen missed much of the 2011 season following knee surgery and struggled with his control before shutting it down. Injuries to Michael Kohn and Bobby Cassevah opened Jepsen's route back to the Angels this spring and he pitched a scoreless eighth inning Sunday. One of Jepsen's pitches in the eighth registered 100 mph on the stadium radar gun. --OF Vernon Wells has not done much to put his horrid 2011 out of fans' minds yet this season. Wells is off to a 2-for-13 start. In Sunday's loss, he came up with runners in scoring position four times and went hitless, striking out three times in those at-bats. He did get his second hit of the season in the eighth inning, a solo home run. --2B Howie Kendrick was the consensus pick of analysts to most benefit from Albert Pujols' presence in the Angels lineup. Kendrick has backed up those expectations by going 5-for-12 with two doubles and a walk in the season-opening series against the Royals. BY THE NUMBERS: 0-for-13 -- Angels with runners in scoring position in loss to the Royals on Sunday. QUOTE TO NOTE: "You know what -- that didn't cross my mind. I've been with this ballclub six, seven weeks. Those thoughts are already gone." -- 1B Albert Pujols, on whether he felt awkward making his Angels debut. ROSTER REPORT MEDICAL WATCH: --RHP Jerome Williams (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He will make rehab appearances for Class A Inland Empire on April 5 and April 10 before the Angels need a fifth starter for the first time on April 15. --RHP Michael Kohn (mild flexor strain in right arm) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. The timetable for his return was unknown. --RHP Bobby Cassevah (right shoulder discomfort) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He is due to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire on April 5. --OF Jeremy Moore (left hip surgery in March 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He is unlikely to return before mid-June.
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