Kendrys Morales hasn’t played since breaking his leg in May of 2010, but if the reports from Tempe, Arizona are to be believed, he’s going to be playing, and playing well, pretty darn soon:
“I’ve been hitting with him every day (at the Angels’ minor-league complex in Tempe, Ariz.) and he looks strong,” Angels centerfielder Peter Bourjos said Wednesday. “Monday was the first time he took live BP (with a coach throwing) and he was popping them out from both sides. “It’s very impressive.”
Granted, Bourjos isn’t the most objective observer here, but even if he’s exaggerating, it’s a big improvement over last year. I was at Angels’ camp the day of their first spring training game last March and was around early for BP. Morales was there, but he didn’t hit. People — even people connected with the Angels — were whispering stuff about him, shaking their head and looking sad. No one could even pretend.
Oh, and bonus: Bourjos says that Morales has lost weight and looks to be in great shape, so there’s that too.
If Morales can return to 2009 form, it’ll be like the Angels signed two crazy-good hitters in the offseason, not just one.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.