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Kendrys Morales' return delayed

3/20/2012

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels scratched Kendrys Morales from Tuesday's Cactus League game against the Kansas City Royals. It would have been the slugger's first game against major-league competition since May 29, 2010, when Morales broke his left ankle hopping onto home plate in celebration of a game-winning home run.

Morales experienced some soreness in his right shin after a minor-league game Monday. He said he will get Wednesday off -- the Angels have an open date -- and be at designated hitter in Thursday's home game against the Royals.

"It’s nothing, not serious at all," Morales said. "I feel a lot better, but it’s a little cold and they decided to be careful."

Temperatures in the Phoenix area Tuesday morning were in the 40s. The Angels are hoping Morales can return and provide lineup protection for newly acquired superstar Albert Pujols. Morales hit .306 with 34 home runs and 108 RBIs in 2009.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said his optimism about Morales being ready for Opening Day hasn't diminished at all.

"He'll be ready, barring some unforeseen lack of progression," Scioscia said.