Surgery for Morales postponed
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)
The Los Angeles Angels didn't have to wait long to test manager Mike Scioscia's new rules on game-winning-hit celebrations.
One day after Kendry Morales broke his left leg while leaping onto home plate and being smothered by teammates after hitting a game-winning grand slam, Howie Kendrick hit a game-ending, three-run homer in the ninth for a 9-7 victory. His teammates ran onto the field, but kept a safe distance from the foul line before mobbing him. And he touched the plate without jumping.
``Fortunately, we got through this celebration unscathed,'' Scioscia said.
Morales was scheduled to undergo surgery Sunday but doctors decided to wait until swelling subsides.
Scioscia said he didn't believe it would be a season-ending injury for the 26-year-old first baseman, based on what the club has been told.
Before Sunday's game, Scioscia met with his players behind closed doors and talked to them about such celebrations.
"It's sickening to lose a player the way we lost Kendry. And it's not going to happen again here,'' Scioscia said. "It's an emotional game, and when you win like that, it's so exhilarating when you get caught up in the moment. But we need to do a better job than to get hurt in a dogpile scenario celebrating a win. Yesterday's event was terrible.''
The Angels recalled utility first baseman Robb Quinlan from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill Morales' roster spot, but Sunday's lineup card had catcher Mike Napoli at first base - a position he had never played in the big leagues.
Prior to Morales' mishap, one of the most notable cases of a player hurting himself at the end of a game involved Minnesota second baseman Denny Hocking.
After catching the final out in the clinching game of the 2002 AL division series at Oakland, Hocking's hand was broken during the impromptu melee when Jacque Jones stepped on the middle finger of his right hand and split the nail in two places. The injury prevented Hocking from playing in the ALCS, where the Twins were defeated by the Angels.
``It's such an excitement when those kind of things happen. I don't think it'll be toned down,'' said Brewers outfielder Corey Hart, who was mobbed by his teammates Friday night after his two-run homer in the ninth gave the Brewers a 2-0 victory. ``I've never heard of anyone breaking their leg. I mean, you might take it into consideration, but it's just a freak thing."