Kendry Morales set for surgery, still hoping to play again this season

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Kendry Morales will undergo surgery tomorrow, two weeks after fracturing his ankle while celebrating a walk-off homer. Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that Morales was initially slated to go under the knife the day after the injury, but surgery was delayed until the swelling subsided.
He’ll have a metal rod and/or screws inserted “to hold the fibula in place” and won’t be able to put any weight on his left leg for at least 4-6 weeks. However, there’s apparently still some chance that Morales could return in September, which is suddenly noteworthy with the Angels digging out of an early hole to reclaim their usual spot near the top of the AL West.
“We really reinforced the idea that he’s got to listen to the doctors,” manager Mike Scioscia told Saxon. “Its going to take time. You can’t rush it. Right now, I think he’s anxious to get into the surgery and the rehab.”
After placing fifth in the MVP voting last season Morales was hitting .290 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs in 51 games, and his injury could put the Angels in the market for a veteran first baseman such as Paul Konerko of the White Sox. For now Mike Napoli, Robb Quinlan, and Michael Ryan have been splitting time at first base, but Napoli is a catcher and the other two offer little offensively.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.