Test results to determine next step for Kendrys Morales
Angels slugger Kendrys Morales is in Vail, Colo., this week undergoing a series of tests to determine whether he will be able to intensify his rehabilitation from a broken left ankle that has sidelined the switch-hitting first baseman for the past 1½ seasons.
“We’ll find out if he can step up to the next level and start more rigorous baseball activities,” General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. “I wouldn’t say Kendrys’ 2012 season hinges on the answers we get this week, but the optimism we already feel could be enhanced.”
Morales, who hit .306 with 34 home runs and 108 runs batted in in 2009, fractured his lower left leg while jumping onto home plate after a game-winning grand slam on May 29, 2010.
He underwent surgery in which a pin and six screws were inserted into the ankle, and he appeared to be on track to return in 2011, but inflammation and discomfort in the spring prevented him from running at full speed and taking turns around the bases.
Morales underwent a second surgery in June in which Dr. Thomas Clanton, a Colorado foot-and-ankle specialist, cleaned out scar tissue, removed degenerative cysts in the ankle and performed a bone graft. That sidelined Morales for the entire 2011 season.
Morales has been jogging on a “de-weighted” treadmill and hitting off a tee in Arizona, but the Angels won’t be able to get a better read on him until he gets into more baseball activities. Spring training starts in late February.
If Morales does return and regains his 2009 form, 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. “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: Kendry Morales lies on the groundafter injuring his leg in May 2010. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times