Angels’ Mike Scioscia says he has worried about on-field celebrations
Reporting from Kansas City, Mo. —
No athlete wants to make the list of “dumbest sports injuries,” but like it or not, Kendry Morales was added to it Saturday when he fractured a bone above his left ankle while jumping into home plate in celebration of his walk-off grand slam against Seattle.
The Angels first baseman, who will undergo surgery and could miss the rest of the season, can take some solace in the fact he won’t replace former NFL kicker Bill Gramatica at the top of that list.
After making a 42-yard field goal to give the Arizona Cardinals a 3-0 lead in a 2001 game against the New York Giants, Gramatica jumped up in wild celebration, came down and tore a knee ligament and missed the rest of the season.
Manager Mike Scioscia took measures to ensure no Angel pulls another “Gramatica,” prohibiting players from jumping into the plate and teammates from mobbing players in such celebrations.
Scioscia has never been a big fan of raucous walk-off and series-clinching celebrations and said he worried about players being injured long before Morales’ spikes got caught on the plate and he landed awkwardly amid a mosh pit of teammates Saturday.
“You see guys jumping on top of the dog-pile … and you always know there’s a risk when boys are being boys and they’re excited,” Scioscia said.
“But Kendry is anything but flamboyant. For this to happen to a guy who plays hard and plays the game right is disappointing. We hope we never see anything like that again.”
Mike Napoli is the Angels’ streakiest hitter, a slugger who is as capable of carrying the offense for weeks as he is of being the easiest out in the lineup for weeks.
In the midst of one of his hot streaks — the catcher hit .322 (28 for 87) with eight homers, 10 doubles and 17 runs batted in during May — Napoli is just trying to find a way to maintain his stroke.
“I’m going to keep the same setup, the same approach in batting practice, and hopefully it stays with me,” said Napoli, who hit a two-run homer, doubled, singled and scored three runs in the Angels’ 7-1 win over Kansas City on Monday.
“I’ve been seeing the ball well and trying to have good at-bats, where I hit it hard somewhere. When I’m in there every day, it’s easier to keep things going.”
First things first
The in-house auditions at first base continued Monday, with outfielder Michael Ryan getting his first big league start at the position against the Royals. Napoli played first Sunday, and Robb Quinlan will get time there.
Ryan made 10 minor league starts at first, including four at triple-A Salt Lake this season, but played only once there in the major leagues, entering a game for the Minnesota Twins in 2005 after Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer got hurt.
“I feel somewhat comfortable there,” said Ryan, who handled two grounders flawlessly before being replaced by Quinlan in the sixth inning. “If they asked me to catch, I’d do it. I’ll do whatever I can to help the team.”
Jeff Mathis, out since April 20 because of a broken bone in his right wrist, took what he called “a big step” Sunday when he took live batting practice for the first time since his injury. The catcher hopes to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment this weekend or early next week. … Brandon Wood (right hip flexor strain) began a rehab assignment with Salt Lake on Monday.
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