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Sunday, March 6, 2011
The Kendry Morales window is closing

By Mark Saxon

Mike Scioscia told reporters in Arizona recently that Kendry Morales needs to be on the field in a spring training game by March 19, 20 or 21 in order to make it by Opening Day.

Scioscia is rarely so specific, so you can bet he's been thinking about it a lot. And you can also bet Morales won't be back any sooner than that.

If everything works out and he is playing by then, is it really enough time? The season begins early this year, on March 31. We're talking about a severely fractured bone here, not a strained muscle. Odds are, he's going to feel some tightness and/or pain when he first starts running on it competitively. It's fair to assume he'll need a day or two off from the Cactus League schedule.

That means it's doubtful he'll get even 40 at-bats against major-league pitching going into season. Plus, by the time he returns, the pitchers will be stretched out and looking to get into regular-season form. It's not going to be easy for Morales to find his timing.

And 40 at-bats is on the low end of what Scioscia first said he'd need. In other words, Morales might be ready, but Las Vegas likely would handicap that as a sizeable long shot right now.