Morales a source of Angels optimism

Updated: March 19, 2012, 9:53 AM ET
By Buster Olney

And on the seventh day, Kendrys Morales rested, after a busy week. He hit a lot, and when he hit he ran, scoring from first base on a double in a minor league game Saturday, and after he ran Morales felt like he could run some more.

The worst-case scenario for the Los Angeles Angels when spring training began was that Morales would continue to have problems stemming from his freak injury 22 months ago, and that he would not return to action.

But what the Angels are seeing is Morales' best-case scenario. "We are very, very optimistic at this point," Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said Sunday night.

What has been particularly encouraging for the Angels is how quickly Morales has regained his timing. He has been playing in minor league games, in situations designed to get him as much work as possible. Because teams can design their own rules in those minor league practice games, Morales has been leading off a lot of innings -- every inning, whenever the Angels have wanted -- to get him as much action as possible. There was a day, Dipoto said with a chuckle, that Morales was used in games going on simultaneously on different fields, so that he'd go from one field to another to get his swings.

"The intent throughout has been to get him to assume the DH duty as much as possible," Dipoto said. "He's done very well. His timing is good, and he's been very aggressive."