Kendrys Morales close to making Cactus League debut

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We’ve heard nothing but good things about Kendrys Morales so far this spring. That’s quite a contrast from this time last year, which Craig can vouch for first-hand. And while Morales has yet to make his Cactus League debut, he’s certainly moving in the right direction.

According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Morales hopes to get into games during the week of March 18. He also notes that the 28-year-old hasn’t reported any soreness, swelling or pain in his surgically-repaired ankle.

Morales hasn’t played in a professional game since fracturing his lower left leg while jumping onto home plate following a game-winning grand slam on May 29, 2010. The 28-year-old switch-hitter owns a .284/.336/.502 batting line and an .838 OPS in the majors, so he could provide a major boost to the middle of the Angels’ lineup if he can return to form.

While we’re on the subject of Angels’ players who are rehabbing from injury, Mark Trumbo is slated to start at third base and bat cleanup this afternoon against the Giants. He played a couple innings at the hot corner on Wednesday, but these will be his first at-bats in a major league game since being shut down with a stress fracture in his right foot last September.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Tony La Russa part ways

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The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they are parting ways with Tony La Russa at the end of the month.

La Russa served as the club’s “Chief Baseball Officer” from 2015-16. For the last year he was styled “Chief Baseball Analyst.” That’s a nice way to saying that he was pushed aside when the club fired his hand-picked general manager Dave Stewart and brought in Mike Hazen to run the club a year ago. La Russa was stripped of his powers, but was told he could hang around as an advisor. Most didn’t think he’d actually take the club up on that offer, but he did. By all accounts he was a pretty unobtrusive presence around the team this year, offering counsel and insight when asked but not making things awkward the way having the old boss around might do.

I suppose that can only last so long, however. The Dbacks had considerably more success without La Russa in charge in 2017 than they had with him in charge the previous couple of years. At some point you just part ways. That point is now.