Sunday, May 30, 2010
Angels start Napoli at first
ESPNLosAngeles.com news services
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels, reeling from losing Kendry Morales to a broken leg sustained while celebrating his winning grand slam Saturday, started Mike Napoli at first base Sunday against the Seattle Mariners.
Morales landed awkwardly when he jumped on home plate and twisted his left ankle. He had to be carted off the field and taken to the hospital. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and utility first baseman Robb Quinlan was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill his roster spot.
The Angels held a 10:30 a.m. PT meeting in which manager Mike Scioscia laid down new guidelines for celebrating game-winning home runs.
"He just said, 'Give a guy space and, you know, just easy going,' " Bobby Abreu said. "We understand that."
The new policy on home plate celebrations was put to the test in short order as the Angels beat the Mariners 9-7 on Sunday on Howie Kendrick's two-run blast in the ninth inning. Kendrick had a clear path and touched home plate the normal way as his jubulant teamates ran on the field and kept a safe distance from the foul line before mobbing him.
Before the game, Scioscia said losing a player the way the team lost Morales would not happen again to the Angels.
"It's an emotional game, and when you win like that, it's so exhilarating when you get caught up in the moment," Scioscia acknowledged. "But we need to do a better job than to get hurt in a dogpile scenario celebrating a win. Yesterday's event was terrible."
Morales may not play again for a long while, but Scioscia emphasized it wasn't a season-ending injury for the 26-year-old first baseman, based on what the club has been told. Morales was scheduled to undergo surgery Sunday, but doctors decided to wait until swelling subsides.
Scioscia said it was an accident waiting to happen, but it didn't have to -- an opinion echoed by hitting coach Mickey Hatcher.
"He's 200-something pounds, and there's no reason why he should have leaped in the air," Hatcher said. "That plate is always slippery, and you don't know what you're going to get.
"I mean, look at Roy Halladay last night after he pitched the perfect game. They were all over him, so how do you know he wasn't going to sprain his ankle with all those legs and stuff around him? But that's just the nature of the game," Hatcher added. "How do you take away those celebrations? I don't know, but I think you need to tone it down some."
Napoli, who has caught almost every game since platoon-mate Jeff Mathis went on the DL with a broken wrist on April 20, is batting .256 in 40 games this season, with 13 runs and 17 RBIs. The last time Napoli played first base was with Triple-A Salt Lake in 2006.
He went 1 for 5 with two strikeouts and a run on Sunday.
Information from Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report.