03/16/12 7:25 PM ET
Morales feels good after hitting in Minors games
Angels infielder not ruling out return by Opening Day
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
After running the bases for the first time on Sunday, Morales spent about 15 minutes running on a practice field before taking swings against live Double-A and Triple-A pitching.
"Kendrys felt great," Scioscia said. "He was moving well down there, swinging the bat obviously. Even though it's Triple-A pitching, you're still seeing velocity, and he felt very comfortable in the batter's box.
"Getting out there and getting a hit -- even though it was Triple-A -- has to help his frame of mind. He was smiling after the game. So hopefully, it's something he can carry forward."
Morales bounced back and forth between two games at camp in Tempe -- taking with him a posse of onlookers every step of the way -- and went 2-for-5 with two singles and a strikeout. He had a pinch-runner each time he reached base.
"It felt good," Morales said. "Today is the first day I was hitting in the field, so I was happy."
Morales missed part of the 2010 season and all of 2011 recovering from a fractured left leg suffered on May 29, 2010. He broke out in '09 with 34 homers, 108 RBIs and a .306 average.
Scioscia said Morales had been bothered recently by some right calf soreness, but Morales said after the workout that he felt no pain and that it was just a matter of comfort. He also said he was able to run 100 percent on a couple of occasions.
The skipper said he'd like to see Morales get 40-50 at-bats before joining the big league club.
"It depends on how he feels and how he recovers as to what we can do," Scioscia said. "This guy's been swinging the bat for most of the time last year during the spring and up until the time he had his surgery. He started swinging the bat really again in November, just dry swings. I don't think it's going to be that foreign to him. We're not asking him to go ice skating. We're asking him to do something he's done his whole life."
Depending on the results the rest of the way and how the club feels about his progress, Morales said could be on the field for Opening Day.
"If I get more confidence, get a couple more at-bats and get in the field so I can start getting better every day," he said. "Every day is a new day for me."
Iannetta exits game with right elbow bruise
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels catcher Chris Iannetta was taken out of Friday afternoon's game against the Indians because of a right elbow bruise. He is listed as day to day.
Iannetta, who came to the Halos in an offseason trade with the Rockies, was struck in the right elbow by a foul tip off the bat of Indians first baseman Russ Canzler in the second inning.
He attempted to stay in, but was pulled by Angels manager Mike Scioscia after making a high practice throw to second base.
"We're going to see," said Scioscia, who did not know if Iannetta had been taken for X-Rays. "He got it right on the elbow. It's swollen, no doubt, and sore. But I don't know what the results are."
Iannetta, who entered the game batting .222 with a home run and four RBIs, was replaced behind the plate by Alberto Rosario.
Scioscia pegs five vying for rotation spot
TEMPE, Ariz. -- With two of the prime candidates throwing for the Angels on Friday, the race for the fifth spot in the rotation was on full display.
Manager Mike Scioscia mentioned five names in the running for the No. 5 spot on Friday morning -- Trevor Bell, Jerome Williams, Eric Hurley, Brad Mills and Garrett Richards -- though he said there's still time to make a decision.
"We don't need a fifth starter until April 15," he quipped.
Richards, 23, threw four shutout innings against the Indians in Tempe, striking out six. He has allowed just two earned runs in nine innings over three Cactus League starts this spring.
"Going into Spring Training, we knew the fifth spot was going to be open," said Richards, who made three starts for the Halos last year. "I prepared myself in the offseason for Spring Training and just show them what I've got. I got a little taste of it last year, and once you get a taste of it, you don't want to leave."
The 27-year-old Mills traveled with the club to Peoria, Ariz., to face the Padres, and surrendered just one hit and one walk while striking out one in 3 2/3 innings.
Hurley is a non-roster invitee, Bell has thrown for the Angels each of the past three seasons (though, primarily out of the bullpen) and Williams has been battling a sore left hamstring while competing for a spot.
"The thing about competition is there isn't any such thing as a front-runner," Scioscia said. "You've got to go out there and earn it every step of the way, and that's what we hope one of these five guys do to make our decisions easy."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Maicer Izturis, slowed lately by hamstring tightness, will run on Friday and should be back in games within two to three days.
"We wanna take it slow with him," Scioscia said. "He doesn't need that much playing time to get where he needs to be, but with his history, we want to make sure he's feeling good before he goes out there and does some things."
Scioscia said outfielder Mike Trout, who is recovering from an illness, will take some at-bats within a game or two. He also said catcher Bobby Wilson (quad tightness) should make an appearance this weekend, and right-hander Bobby Cassevah (shoulder tightness) worked out on Friday morning, threw a bullpen recently and should be appearing in games within two to three days.