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Angels' Kendry Morales will see more time at DH this season, especially early

February 20, 2011 | 11:03 am

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia remains confident that Kendry Morales, who missed most of last season because of a broken lower-left leg, will be ready by opening day, but he acknowledged Sunday that the first baseman might have to open the season as a designated hitter.

"Whether or not he’s 100% ready to go on opening day, there’s certainly going to be some DH days for him," Scioscia said. "We might be able to use that [position] to get a little different look."

Morales, a middle-of-the-order bat the Angels are depending on heavily this season, has looked good in early batting-practice sessions from both sides of the plate, driving the ball consistently out of the park. But Morales just began taking ground balls on Saturday and has not been able to run at anything close to 100% yet.

"I think offense will be the least of our concerns," Scioscia said. "The way he’s swinging the bat, particularly right-handed, where you're putting a lot of torque on landing foot, he has no issue. Swinging from the left side, there have been no issues.

"His first round of [pitchers fielding practice] and ground balls were encouraging, but you still see that separation of where he needs to get. How long that’s going to take, hopefully we’re talking a matter of weeks."

Is Scioscia as convinced today as he was when camp opened that Morales, who hit .306 with 34 homers and 108 RBIs in 2009, will be ready by opening day?

"Nothing has changed," Scioscia said, "but the work is very real that he has to do to get to that level."

-- Mike DiGiovanna in Tempe, Ariz.

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