ANAHEIM, Calif. — Kendrys Morales hasn’t played in the field for more than two years, but the Angels’ designated hitter will get a couple of starts at first base on the team’s upcoming road trip.
Manager Mike Scioscia said he wants to keep Morales’ bat in the lineup rather than have him sit for six games against the Colorado Rockies and Dodgers. He said Morales will probably get two starts on the trip with Albert Pujols switching to third.
Morales last played defense in May 2010 when he suffered a broken ankle jumping on home plate after hitting a walk-off home run against the Seattle Mariners. A second surgery last May to clean out scar tissue in the ankle joint kept him out all of 2011.
Morales has been working out at first base during batting practice this season and took ground balls there Wednesday afternoon. Pujols has played third base infrequently in his career but was used there once this season when the Angels played a 12-inning game in San Diego against the Padres.
Using both players out of position is risky business, but Scioscia said he’s confident both can handle the switch.
“Kendrys is going to be fine at first,” he said. “We haven’t seen Albert live at third, but he’s got nice hands and he’s very comfortable on that side, so we’ll tap into it for a little bit.”
The question with Morales is his mobility. He’s never been nimble around the bag, although he’s capable of handling balls hit at him.
“He’s moving well enough to handle the position,” Scioscia said. “Kendrys has terrific hands. He’s not quite where he was pre-injury, but he might never get that back and he doesn’t need that right now.”
The Angels play three games at Colorado starting Friday, then meet the Dodgers for a three-game set beginning Monday at Dodger Stadium.