After visiting with a specialist in Colorado last week Kendrys Morales has been cleared “to begin running on his own power,” according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.
Morales hasn’t played since breaking his ankle in May of 2010, suffering multiple setbacks along the way after initially hoping to be ready for Opening Day of last season. He eventually underwent a second surgery, but the Angels were confident enough in his odds of being healthy this year that they tendered him a contract.
Gonzalez reports that there’s still no timetable for his return to baseball activities, but Morales has been running on an unweighted treadmill and hitting off a tee. A healthy Morales would add to the Angels’ logjam at first base, designated hitter, and the outfield corners, but the stockpile of capable hitters should also allow them to be very cautious with his recovery timetable. Not that they have much choice at this point.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.