Kendrys Morales is finally making major progress in his now two-year-long recovery from a broken ankle and could make his spring training debut later this week.
Morales ran the bases in cleats yesterday and afterward manager Mike Scioscia replied “absolutely” when asked if he could be ready by Opening Day, which is the most optimism anyone has shown about Morales in quite a while.
Morales reported no problems after running the bases, telling Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com: “I didn’t feel anything at all, wasn’t scared doing it or anything.”
Scioscia mentioned that his “gait much better” than previous attempts to resume running, but admitted that “his legs just need to get used to running” and “there’s some stiffness he’ll need to work out.”
Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the media, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that starter Dallas Keuchel will come off of the disabled list and rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Tigers. Keuchel has missed nearly two months with a neck injury.
Prior to landing on the DL, Keuchel was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 69/18 K/BB ratio over 75 2/3 innings. He seemed to be on his way to potentially win another Cy Young Award.
Hinch also noted that Collin McHugh will start on Saturday and Lance McCullers will start on Sunday.
Braves starter Aaron Blair had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks. He had just given up a run on a Daniel Descalso triple hit to center field that center fielder Ender Inciarte read poorly. In the following at-bat, Ketel Marte laced a curve ball to right field. Sean Rodriguez wasn’t able to get to it in time, so the ball bounced off the fence and caromed back towards the stands along the right field line. By the time Rodriguez was able to retrieve the ball, Marte was already on his way home and scored standing up.
The inside-the-park homer will certainly provide a boost to Marte’s stats. He entered Wednesday’s action batting .196/.255/.370 in 51 plate appearances.