Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales got a second opinion on his slow-healing ankle fracture on Wednesday afternoon in Vail, Colorado. He did not return to Anaheim bearing good news.
According to Sam Miller of the Orange County Register, Angels general manager Tony Reagins acknowledged Wednesday night that Morales needs another ankle surgery to clear up the scar tissue that has formed around his original fracture and will miss a minimum of six months.
In other words, the talented 27-year-old can safely be written off for the rest of the 2011 season.
Morales posted a .924 OPS, 34 home runs and 108 RBI in a breakout 2009 campaign, but he hasn’t played in a major league game since last May and won’t be healthy again until the winter rolls around.
Morales is earning $2.975 million this season via arbitration. He will become a free agent after 2013.
Mark Trumbo, 25, will handle starting first base duties for the rest of the year. He’s turned in a decent .270/.311/.486 batting line, six home runs and 17 RBI in 119 plate appearances so far this season.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.