The Los Angeles Angels had no idea what they could expect from Kendrys Morales this season. Not after nearly two years and two surgeries to repair the fractured ankle he suffered on May 29, 2010.
"Coming in (to spring training) and talking to the medical staff, there was concern: Was this guy going to play 50 games or was he going to play 130 games?" manager Mike Scioscia said. "You really didn't know."
Morales played in his 130th game Sunday in Texas. His return from that traumatic leg injury has to be measured as a success. Morales has batted .273 with 22 home runs and 73 RBI.
"For the time I had away, I think I'm having a good season," Morales said through an interpreter. "I would've liked to produce more and help the team even more. But you have to be happy because, if you look at the time I've missed, I think I had a good year."
Morales' power returned as the season progressed (14 of his 22 home runs have come since the All-Star break) and he has batted .286 (20-for-70) with 12 extra-base hits (seven doubles, a triple and four home runs) and 11 RBI over his past 18 games.
He has even made 26 starts at first base, an important step toward avoiding the label of full-time designated hitter at age 29.
"No doubt -- not only for his future but for our purposes," Scioscia said. "Kendrys wasn't even able to start taking ground balls until a month into the season. And that was only 10 or 12 ground balls a day and we worked up into it as we got to interleague (in early June). As he's gotten more comfortable and gotten more mobile out there, he's played a lot out there. He's held up fine."