Kendrys Morales “feels a lot better” than last spring and “should be ready” for Opening Day

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This time last year Kendrys Morales was hoping to be ready for Opening Day after missing most of 2010 with a broken ankle, but several setbacks followed and he ended up sitting out the entire season after undergoing a second surgery.

Morales is back in Angels camp now, still essentially rehabbing an injury from two years ago, but told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that the ankle “feels a lot better” than it did last spring and he “should be ready” for Opening Day.

Morales has reached “believe it when we see it” status at this point, but revealed that he’s “been running for about four months” already and no longer feels any pain.

Adding his bat to the lineup alongside Albert Pujols would be huge for the Angels, as Morales hit .302 with 45 homers and a .901 OPS in the 203 games immediately preceding the injury. After so much time on the sidelines he can’t be counted on to pick up right where he left off, of course, but even at something less than full strength a reasonably healthy Morales would further complicate the Angels’ first base/corner outfielder/designated hitter logjam.

In other words, Bobby Abreu might not want to unpack.

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.