04/17/12 2:37 AM ET
Kendrys clocks first homer since 2010 injury
Three-run dinger part of three-hit night for Angels slugger
By AJ Cassavell / Special to MLB.com
In the Angels' 6-0 win on Monday night, Morales crushed an 0-2 fastball from A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy over the center-field wall for his first home run since May 29, 2010. That's the day Morales hit a walk-off grand slam against Seattle only to break his ankle jumping into the home-plate celebration scrum after rounding the bases.
It was a long road back from the gruesome injury for Morales. Two surgeries and 22 months later, he made his return and notched his first hit on Opening Day.
"It had been a long time," Morales said, speaking through an interpreter. " ... I feel good. I just need to keep working to do it better."
Morales said he wasn't thinking at all about his previous home run while rounding the bases. The homer would come eventually, he said, downplaying the moment's significance.
"I've felt pretty good," he said. "I have been having good swings, but I haven't been able to hit them over the fence."
Perhaps more important to the Angels than Morales' 58th career home run, which gave them an early three-run lead, was his overall performance at the plate. Morales entered the game without an RBI and hitting just .200.
He singled down the right-field line in the third inning but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. In the fifth, he crushed a long fly ball to center field, but was robbed at the wall by Oakland's Coco Crisp. Then in the eighth, he just about sealed the win with an RBI double.
"His bat speeds there," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He needs to get reacclimated with playing some baseball and getting some timing, but he's healthy, and I'm not surprised."
AJ Cassavell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.