SURPRISE, Ariz. -- One of the Angels' most talked-about players made his first Cactus League appearance as the designated hitter against the Royals on Tuesday.
One did -- but not the one they expected.
Kendrys Morales, still working his way back from a broken left ankle that has sidelined him for 1 1/2 seasons, felt some tightness in his right calf during Monday's appearance in a Minor League game and decided to take some extra time to rest. So instead, premier prospect Mike Trout, sidelined nearly all spring with a nasty virus, got the nod as the DH in the No. 8 spot of the lineup.
Trout finished 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk, and was caught stealing, but also legged out an eventual error on a comebacker and ran the bases with no problems.
Trout, who lost 10 pounds because of the illness, had at-bats via Minor League games on Saturday and Monday, but he won't be able to play the field for about a week because of ongoing tendinitis in his right shoulder.
"I just want to get it stronger," said Trout, who is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 3 prospect in baseball and is almost guaranteed to start the season in Triple-A. "It's just been tight. It won't affect my playing. I'm still getting my at-bats, doing fundamentals and stuff before the game. Once my arm gets back and stronger, I'll be out there playing defense, too."
Morales played in Minor League games in three of the last four days. He was supposed to get four to six at-bats on Monday, but he stopped after going 0-for-3 because of tightness in the calf over which he wears a compression sleeve.
The Angels have an off-day on Wednesday, so they figured it'd be best for Morales to get the extra time and instead make his Cactus League debut on Thursday, at home against the Royals.
Morales said Tuesday morning that he feels fine.
"Just a little bit sore," he added in Spanish. "I'll be out there Thursday."
Manager Mike Scioscia said his confidence in Morales having enough time to be ready by Opening Day "hasn't diminished at all."
"His legs are moving great, his ankle's great, it's just getting your legs in shape," Scioscia said. "In some ways, it's a good sign that he gets a little bit tight in some of the muscles you would expect. You certainly have to monitor it. We're very pleased with where he is, and hopefully he's going to get to it."
Wilson pushing himself hard through spring
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There will be many times this season when a feeling of déjà vu overcomes C.J. Wilson, who spent his first 11 pro seasons in the Rangers organization and is now on an Angels team that will face Texas 19 times this year.
The first sense of that came Tuesday, in his fourth Spring Training start at Surprise Stadium -- where he faced the Royals but also where he spent his springs as a member of the Rangers, who share the facility.
"And the ironic thing is we're in the same bullpen that I've always been in and the same dugout I've always been in," Wilson said. "So it was kind of like, 'Oh, this is just kind of like old times, except I have a red jersey on.' "
On this afternoon -- one in which he tossed five crisp, scoreless innings to bring his Cactus League ERA to 0.64 -- Wilson tried his best to simulate that old Arlington heat he had become so accustomed to.
Wilson ran a couple of miles before taking the mound, then did his regular running afterward to, as he put it, "really get that feeling of like a hot day in Texas, or a long game or a drawn-out game, because I've been having really efficient innings."
"Each time I go out there, I have a goal, and I'm accomplishing those goals every time. I'm trying to continue to push that goal, that carrot, a little bit further ahead of me and I'm making it difficult."
Wilson, who is now mixing in all his pitches, rolled through the Royals' top lineup with little problems, scattering three hits, striking out five, walking none and successfully accomplishing his two most important goals of the spring: using his changeup and getting through innings quickly.
But the pre-start running, which he picked up from Rangers strength coach Jose Vazquez, will probably stop now.
"I was feeling a little bit dogged out the last inning, to be honest with you," Wilson said, "and I think that's because of the pitches and the running and all that stuff together."
Walden feels good, but endures a rocky outing
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Angels closer Jordan Walden had a rough outing in Tuesday's 6-4 loss to the Royals at Surprise Stadium.
A really rough outing.
The hard-throwing right-hander came into the game in the sixth, after C.J. Wilson breezed through five innings, then promptly gave up four singles, one double, one wild pitch and was charged with four runs after recording just one out.
"I feel good, but it just shows you I have a little work to do," Walden would say afterward. "I still have to locate the fastball."
Walden, who had given up two runs in four Cactus League innings coming in, couldn't locate much on Tuesday. He hung his developing changeup to Eric Hosmer for a line-drive single, left a few sliders up and struggled with his fastball command.
As manager Mike Scioscia also noted: "It didn't look like he was in sync in his delivery. It looked like he was feeling for some stuff. The ball wasn't coming out like we know it can, and he was missing some spots. He had trouble putting some guys away, and that was what got him today."
Right-hander Ryan Brasier, who had a 2.92 through 50 relief appearances in Double-A and Triple-A last year, twisted his left ankle in the eighth inning on Tuesday. Brasier threw a wild pitch and pulled up lame after landing. Then, after being checked on by the Angels' medical staff, the 24-year-old was pulled with one out. He's currently day to day.
"It doesn't look like it's too serious, but no sense taking your chances," Scioscia said. "It looked like he just tweaked his ankle a little bit and he was a little sore."
Mark Trumbo committed his third error of the spring at third base, fielding a chopper, then sailing a throw way high of first base and into the camera well.
New Rangers starter Yu Darvish will not face the Angels this spring. He'll pitch in an intrasquad game at the Rangers facility on Sunday instead of traveling to Tempe to face his new division rivals.
Some Angels will play in a 10-inning Triple-A game during the off-day on Wednesday. Garrett Richards will start, Brad Mills will also pitch, and Chris Iannetta, Bobby Wilson and Trout will play.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.