Angels Spring Training News is a Mixed Bag…of Surgeon’s Tools?

Spring Training is but a few days old and the MLB reporters, probably just as bored and jonesing for real baseball news during the winter as the lot of us, are eagerly taking in every detail and flooding the newspapers and websites with articles, much to my delight. The only downside to this? All of the dire Kendry Morales speculation. It was pretty much a given it would start as soon as he reported to Spring Training. According to reports throughout the winter, he resumed light baseball activities in December and began light jogging about a month ago. This is excellent, hopeful progress but it never sounded like Kendry would show up in perfect, healed condition ready to go full bore on day one of Spring Training. Depending on how quickly the doctors clear him to start running at full speed again, it sounds to me like he could make the Opening Day roster but this isn’t a definite.

Suffice to say, I was prepared to have this news confirmed, and it has been in several articles now, but even when expected, it’s still disappointing. The about face in the reporters’ tone from a cheerful one midway through the post season to extremely cautious now just tells me that on some level they’re big baseball fans too. They were hopeful and rooting for the guy over the winter and are little disheartened now and all of that comes through in the tone of the prose, even when they don’t intend it to. In the articles, Kendry himself sounds a little down about it but reading between the lines, I think things still sound hopeful. He’s hitting very well and feeling no pain (yay!) but says it still feels tight and unflexible and he can’t run with more than 1/2 speed right now. I actually know that one, to a much lesser extent. I have spent the last year finally properly rehabbing a knee I damaged repeatedly in my youth and again as an adult (the last time racing up hills on my bike with clips on my shoes – it was great…until it wasn’t) and I remember the stiffness and inflexibility seeming insurmountable until all of the sudden, and quicker than I would have thought, things improved by leaps and bounds. I hope the experience is comparable because, if so, Kendry could be in playing shape by Opening Day or soon after.

If not, well, I don’t really want to think about that right now, with our best first base substitute reporting for Spring Training in Surprise, AZ, this week instead of Tempe. Howie Kendrick was not my favorite substitute first baseman last season by a long shot, but I think he’s the best temporary option, unless Mark Trumbo has improved a lot over the winter and this I doubt. Then Callaspo could play third and Maicer could play second, as long as he stays healthy. It could work, but I hate to start out the season with a duct taped infield, even if it’s only for the first month.

Reading the rest of the news, several other Angels apparently spent the winter in various forms of surgery and rehabilitation. I was aware Erick Aybar had surgery to repair the knee damaged when Casey McGee busted up the double play back in June. He sounds excited by his progress and I hope that between fixing the knee and no longer dealing with the pressure of batting leadoff, he is able to return to his 2009 form. But Matt Palmer was a surprise. While continuing conditioning workouts this winter after the surgery on his clavicle last season, he discovered he would need knee surgery as well. Apparently they rebuilt him. Better. Stronger. Faster. And Palmer feels the end result has improved his range and delivery considerably. Yay! That’s the kind of news I like to hear! Pitching Coach Mike Butcher was another surprise but, again, with a positive ending. He had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his thyroid gland over the winter. All reports say the surgery was successful and Butcher is on the mend, though not attending the first few days of Spring Training. I wish him a full and speedy recovery.

So, do all of the winter improvements and repairs mean a stronger Angels team or another season of duct tape solutions and cobbled together Franken-infields? Time will tell but I actually believe it’s the former. One thing is for certain, one way or the other I’m in for a lot of news about it in the coming days and that is already a huge improvement over the offseason.

Of course, if the baseball PTB happen to be listening and in a favorable mood, it is my birthday tomorrow (Wednesday), so when I return from an evening of pints and pub trivia, I would really like some good Kendry news from Wednesday’s workouts…and, you know, a long stream of Kendry improvement news through the rest of Spring Training leading to a strong Opening Day start? Okay. I’m asking a lot. But you have to admit, as wishes go, it’s pretty unselfish for being just a tiny bit selfish. That should count for something…right? ;)

13 Comments

So is it Happy Birthday today then…

It’s always nice if the full team are healthy on opening day, but better if the take an extra week or two and remain healthy the whole season…

-peter

Phillies Outside

Seems like Kendry has plenty of time to get right… at this point in time, we’re all 0-0, so it’s best to stay as positive as we can… which, believe me, I know seems impossible sometimes.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

Happy Birthday, Kristen! Hope you have a great day despite our soggy weather. It does seem as if lots of players had some kind of surgery over the winter – a knee thing here, an elbow thing there. They’re like cars that had to go in for servicing.

http://www.janeheller.com/confessionsblog

My favorite line in this post:

“it was great…until it wasn’t”

heh :^D

Oh, and happy BD to ya…

–Jonestein
http://jonestein.mlblogs.com

Kristen,
My best wishes to you today.
cheers!
Michael http://thomasox.mlblogs.com/

Happy BD! I’m not expecting Kendry to be playing at full speed until mid-season. Anything that the Angels get out of him before then is a bonus.
http://wrigleyregular.mlblogs.com/

Happy Birthday, Kristen!

May you get everything you want (especially the part about Kendry),
and may you want everything you get!

Peter – It is, thank you. I agree, if he needs the extra time I would much rather he take it. I’m just hoping, most probably in vain I realize, that he won’t need it.
Jeff – Thanks! You are right about staying positive and it being hard. Sorry to hear there’s still no deal in Red Bird land.
Jane – Thanks. :) It’s funny you should say that. I was trying to work up a whole mechanic metaphor for this post but it got too unwieldy.
Jonestein – LOL, I’m pleased there was a line funny enough to warrant favorite status. And thank you!
Michael – Thank you!
Russel – Thank you too! Yeah, I’m definitely expecting a slow start on the field and on the bases. Breaking in scar tissue is a long and unpleasant process. But I’m hoping for better. If his bat is just up to par in April, that would make a huge difference…though Kendry is one of those hitters who tends to heat up with the weather even in good health.
Lana – Thank you! Yeah, we Halo fans all want good Kendry news. Soon, hopefully.
Kristen
This is a very simple game…

Happy belated Birthday Kristen. A fellow Aquarian. Life is good.
Mike
http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.mlblogs.com/

Happy Belated, Kristen! We all want good news out of AZ – including Kendry. It should work out – doctors and trainers willing.

- Randy
http://heirloom.mlblogs.com

Mike – Thank you and in that case happy belated birthday to you as well…unless you’re one of the few aquarians with a birthday after mine. :)
Randy – Thank you and thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting! Hopefully, it does work out.
Kristen
This is a very simple game…

Happy belated birthday! I hope that you get your Kendry news very soon. And I hope the Angels have far fewer injuries this season…your entry sounded more like an injury report ;)
Catherine
http://chisoxblog.mlblogs.com/

Catherine – Thanks lady! I appreciate your kind Kendry wishes and, yeah, my post really did sound like reading the DL, LOL.
Kristen
This is a very simple game…

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