KANSAS CITY -- Mark Trumbo, making his first Opening Day appearance as a starter in the Angels' lineup, batting seventh, liked the feel of his stroke as Spring Training wrapped up in Southern California after he crushed balls for five weeks in Arizona.
"The timing's there," Trumbo said, gearing up for the challenge of facing right-hander Luke Hochevar and the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Thursday. "That's the most important thing for me. I've been hitting some balls hard to right and right-center, which tells me it is where I want it to be.
"I need to stay behind the ball for what I do. Right-center was always my power field coming up. But pitchers didn't want me to get extended, and they started coming in on my hands. I never think pulling [the ball] at all -- always middle of the field. I'm reacting to it in good position when I'm driving the ball through the middle."
Trumbo batted .297 in 74 at-bats this spring with a .662 slugging mark, exceeded among regulars only by Torii Hunter's .689. Trumbo had team highs with nine doubles, six homers and 20 RBIs.
"It's exciting to be part of this," Trumbo said. "On the flight here I was looking at a whole section of guys on the plane who came up through the organization together. That's a good feeling, being around guys you know so well.
"It's also comforting having guys around you like Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells, with all their experience. You can learn a lot just by observing them."
Morales hitting, fielding -- but not running
KANSAS CITY -- A few hours before Opening Day would unfold at Kauffman Stadium against the Royals, Angels manager Mike Scioscia was once again addressing the issue of the spring: Kendrys Morales' recovery from surgery on his lower left leg.
Morales, who could hold the key to the season if he comes all the way back to 2009 form when he was fifth in the American League Most Valuable Player balloting, is taking batting practice and ground balls with the team. His big obstacle -- running at top speed -- still hasn't been cleared, but Scioscia seems to believe it's drawing close.
"Hopefully -- definitely -- he'll be running on this road trip," Scioscia said on Thursday. "We'll be able to see where he is. The progression of running 100 percent is still a variable right now. Once he runs 100 percent, he'll play in games the next day.
"This jump from baseball activities to being ready for games might come within four days, might come within 10 days. You never know."
Scioscia thinks Morales likely will need 10 games and 30 to 40 at-bats in rehab competition to be ready. This likely would start at high Class A Inland Empire, where the weather figures to be nicer than Triple-A Salt Lake. The California League season opens on April 7.
"I'm sure at 10 games we're going to get an idea where he is," Scioscia said. "Seven games might be a little short. We're not going to rush it."
Familiar turf for Torii
KANSAS CITY -- Torii Hunter was counting his Opening Days on both hands.
"Man," he said before Thursday's game against the Royals, grinning, "this is my 13th. Time is flying. My first one was 1999. This is maybe the fourth time I've had an opener here, in this park. The Twins seemed to start here a lot when we were Central rivals. Here and Detroit, for some reason. We had the dome at home, and we'd always seem to be opening up in cold weather here or in Detroit."
Hunter is a .281 career hitter at Kauffman Stadium in 80 games, with 10 homers and 53 RBIs. He has played nearly an entire season of games (154) in his career against the Royals, batting .273 with 26 homers and 95 RBIs.
Hunter finished the spring smoking hot, batting .333 overall with a .689 slugging percentage. He had four doubles and four homers in 45 at-bats.
"I'm always trying to find my rhythm right as the season starts," Hunter said. "You know when it's time to go. I'm not saying I'm going to get hits right away, but I feel like I'm going to get in good counts and hit the ball. It's a long season, but it's always good if you can get off to a nice start and just relax and play."
Reliever Scott Downs, recovering from a fractured bone in his left big toe, is throwing off the mound and waiting to be cleared for fielding practice. "It won't take him long to be ready once he's cleared," Scioscia said. ... Kevin Jepsen will be the primary setup man in Downs' absence, with Jordan Walden another right-handed option. Hisanori Takahashi will be available as well to shut down left-handed hitters if the occasion arrives in the eighth inning. ... Joel Pineiro is on schedule to make his season debut in the homer opener on April 8 against Toronto. ... The Angels are 6-1 on Opening Day since Scioscia's teams dropped their first four openers. ... The Angels are 9-2 in their last 11 games at Kauffman Stadium and have won 16 of the past 20 against Kansas City overall. ... Jeff Mathis (28) and Peter Bourjos (24) celebrated birthdays on Opening Day.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.