Kendrys Morales: “My goal is to be ready by Opening Day”

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Kendrys Morales hasn’t played since breaking his ankle on May 29 of 2010 and is four months removed from a second season-ending surgery, but it sounds like the Angels first baseman is finally making significant progress in his comeback.

Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that Morales is “walking without a limp” and manager Mike Scioscia described him as “bouncing around more than we anticipated.”

His rehab has advanced to “walking vigorously” on a treadmill and lifting weights, and Morales explained that his “goal is to be ready to go by Opening Day.”

Of course, that was his goal going into spring training this season as well and instead he suffered various setbacks and was finally shut down again, opening the door for Mark Trumbo to emerge as an everyday player and middle-of-the-order slugger in his absence.

At this point it’s tough for the Angels to count on Morales as a key contributor in 2012, but in his last 203 games prior to the injury the switch-hitter batted .302 with 45 homers, 48 doubles, and a .901 OPS.

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

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Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”

Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.