Kendrys Morales begins running, can increase baseball activity
Kendrys Morales has begun running on his own body weight and was cleared Friday to "ramp up" some baseball activities, according to a person familiar with the slugger's rehabilitation from a broken left ankle but unauthorized to speak publicly about it.
Morales, who has not played since fracturing the ankle while jumping into home plate in celebration of a walk-off home run on May 29, 2010, was in Vail, Colo., this week undergoing tests from the doctor who performed the second of two surgeries on his ankle last May.
Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto had not spoken to his medical staff as of Friday evening, so he did not want to comment on Morales, but the source familiar with the first baseman's rehabilitation said no restrictions have been placed on him as he builds up his daily work.
Morales had been jogging on a “de-weighted” treadmill and hitting off a tee in Arizona, but the fact that he has begun running on his own, even lightly, is significant. The Angels, though, won’t be able to get a better read on Morales until he gets into more baseball activities and begins running the bases aggressively.
If Morales does return and regains his 2009 form, when he hit .306 with 34 home runs and 108 runs batted in, he could provide a lethal left-handed complement to newly acquired slugger Albert Pujols in the middle of the lineup.
“The news has been consistently positive, and we’re hopeful of a healthy return,” Dipoto said earlier this week. “With the depth we have at the corners, we’re not contingent on his return by opening day, but we’re optimistic that could happen.”
-- Mike DiGiovanna
Photo: Kendrys Morales flips an autographed hat back to a fan during the Angels' home opener last season. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times