Kendrys Morales is finally making significant progress in his now two-year-long recovery from a broken ankle.
Morales played in a minor-league game yesterday for the third time in four days, afterward telling Marcia Smith of the Orange County Register that his twice-repaired ankle “is a little sore, but I’m fine and will hit again tomorrow.” Morales added that “I’m excited to hit again. I’m feeling more comfortable.”
Counting on Morales returning to his pre-injury production is obviously asking a lot, but having the switch-hitter in the middle of the lineup again could be huge for the Angels. In the 203 games preceding the injury Morales hit .302 with 45 homers, 48 doubles, and a .901 OPS, and even after missing nearly two whole seasons he’s still just 28 years old.
Manager Mike Scioscia described Morales as having made “leaps and bounds” within the past 10 days, so there may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel.
UPDATE: Not so fast, apparently. Morales is out of the lineup today because of shin soreness.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)