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Angels to face fully healed and rejuvenated Kendrys Morales, now with Royals

Angels to face fully healed and rejuvenated Kendrys Morales, now with Royals
Kendrys Morales celebrates with Royals teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home runagainst the White Sox on Aug. 9. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

— It took almost five years, but Kendrys Morales appears fully healed from the devastating left-ankle injury he suffered while jumping into home plate after hitting a walk-off grand slam for the Angels on May 29, 2010.

That's great for Morales, a designated hitter who entered Wednesday with a .290 average, 13 home runs and 81 runs batted in to help Kansas City to an American League-best 68-44 record.

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It's not so great for the Angels, who must contend with the 32-year-old switch-hitter during a four-game series against the Royals beginning Thursday.

"I wish him the best, except against us," said Albert Pujols, whose first year in Anaheim (2012) was Morales' last. "That was a big signing for them. Part of that team's success is because Kendrys is in the mix with the rest of the guys. It's good to see him back, having the year he's having."

Morales missed the rest of 2010 after undergoing surgery in which a pin and six screws were inserted into the ankle. He missed all of 2011 after a second surgery to clean out scar tissue and remove degenerative cysts that formed in the ankle.

Morales hit .273 with 22 homers and 73 RBIs for the Angels in 2012 but was let go after the season. He hit .277 with 23 homers and 80 RBIs for Seattle in 2013 but slipped to .218 with eight homers and 42 RBIs for Seattle and Minnesota in 2014.

Pujols could tell this spring that Morales, who signed a two-year, $17-million deal with Kansas City in December, was sound.

"He was in pretty good shape and had a really good spring," Pujols said. "He wasn't able to put much weight on his ankle for a few years, and when you have leg problems, it's no fun. As a power hitter, the first thing you think about is making sure you have a strong foundation."

Short hops

Manager Mike Scioscia said Tuesday's examination of C.J. Wilson showed "nothing different" from previous exams, which confirmed the left-hander has bone spurs in his elbow that will have to be surgically removed at some point. Wilson has not informed the Angels what course of action he will take. … Third baseman David Freese (broken right index finger) does not appear to have progressed enough in his throwing program to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment this weekend. … Former Angels first baseman and 2002 World Series hero Scott Spiezio attended Wednesday's game and watched batting practice on the field. He said he lives "on 48 acres in the woods in Morris, Ill.," and is feeling better after undergoing hip-replacement surgery seven months ago.

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