Kendrys Morales is ready for a big step forward.
According to beat writer Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels slugger told reporters in spring camp Wednesday that he is planning to begin running the bases next week.
Morales has progressed recently from straight-line jogging to taking zig-zag cuts, and has experienced no issues with the ankle that he fractured during a walkoff home run celebration nearly two years ago.
He’s on pace to be nearly 100 percent by the start of the 2012 regular season.
“Every day I’m feeling better,” Morales said through an interpreter. “My strength is getting better, I’m getting better push off my legs, and I’ve had no next-day soreness.”
Morales will serve as Anaheim’s primary designated hitter this season if his left ankle cooperates.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Rangers have signed outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Gomez will earn $11.5 million next season.
Gomez, 31, struggled with the Astros to a .594 OPS before the club released him in mid-August. The Rangers signed him shortly thereafter and were immediately rewarded. Gomez hit .284/.362/.543 with eight home runs and 24 RBI in 130 plate appearances through the end of the regular season.
As presently constructed, Gomez would likely take over in center field with Nomar Mazara handling left and Shin-Soo Choo in right.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Diamondbacks are close to signing free agent reliever Fernando Rodney.
Rodney, 39, has been inconsistent over the past two seasons. This past season, he was lights-out with the Padres, posting a 0.31 ERA in 28 appearances. After the Marlins acquired him at the end of June, he struggled to a 5.89 ERA in 39 appearances.
Brad Ziegler, who closed for the Diamondbacks in the first half last season, went to the Red Sox in a midseason trade and is now a free agent. The Diamondbacks had six other relievers register a save, but only Daniel Hudson and Jake Barrett recorded more than one. Adding Rodney will give the club some stability in the ninth inning.