Kendrys Morales goes 2-for-3 in Cactus League debut

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Kendrys Morales played in a major league game Thursday for the first time since fracturing his left ankle while celebrating a 10th-inning walkoff home run against the Mariners on May 29, 2010. And it went about as well as such a thing can go.

Morales punched a single through the right side of the infield in his first at-bat, popped out to first base in his second at-bat, then laced a single to center field in his third at-bat. The Angels won 7-4 over the Royals, improving to 10-8 in Cactus League play (not that anyone should care).

Morales will be in the Angels’ starting lineup again on Friday afternoon and should be allowed to make regular appearances in Cactus League games until the opening of the 2012 regular season.

If he’s able to avoid setbacks, the 28-year-old Cuban slugger will start at designated hitter this year for Anaheim. He earned MVP votes in 2009 after batting .306/.355/.569 with 34 home runs and 108 RBI.

Cardinals place Carlos Martinez on 10-day disabled list with oblique strain

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The Cardinals have placed right-hander Carlos Martinez on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain, per a team announcement on Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 20. No definite timetable has been set for his return to the rotation yet, but interim manager Mike Shildt told reporters he feels confident that Martinez will only need to skip one start before taking the mound again.

Martinez, 26, sustained the injury while trying to snare a line drive during Thursday’s 9-6 loss to the Cubs. It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the righty this season, as he lost nearly four weeks to a right lat strain and pitched to a 5.32 ERA after returning to the Cardinals’ roster in early June. Overall, however, his numbers look a little stronger: He’s 6-6 in 17 starts with a 3.39 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 through 95 2/3 innings.

In a corresponding move, right-handed reliever John Brebbia has been recalled from Triple-A Memphis. The 28-year-old Brebbia has already enjoyed three short-lived stints in the majors this season; he currently holds a cumulative 4.13 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 9.9 SO/9 and two saves in 32 2/3 innings with the club.