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ANGELS FYI

Nothing matches special feeling of opening day, players say

'There's nothing like it,' catcher Bobby Wilson says of the festivities. Peter Bourjos, at his first major league opener, says he was anxious but he did enjoy the flyover by stealth bomber.

March 31, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • A B-2 bomber flies over Kauffman Stadium prior to start of Thursday's season opener between the Angels and Kansas City Royals.
A B-2 bomber flies over Kauffman Stadium prior to start of Thursday's… (Larry W. Smith / EPA )

Reporting from Kansas City, Mo.

If you listen to Angels catcher Bobby Wilson, there are few experiences in baseball that can match putting on a big league uniform on opening day.

"This is the best," he said. "The big American flag in center field. The flyover. The goose bumps when that plane goes over. The first pitch of the season. It's awesome. There's nothing like it."

Thursday's festivities in Kansas City featured a flyover by a B-2 bomber. And for outfielder Peter Bourjos, who had a pair of hits and scored a run, that was the most memorable part of his first major leaguer opener.

"I've never seen a stealth bomber before, so that was pretty cool," he said. "I was pretty anxious. I don't think I settled down until that second at-bat. But it was a lot of fun."

Medical report

Kendrys Morales took ground balls at first base Thursday for the first time in more than a week, and Manager Mike Scioscia says he expects the slugger to begin running again during the team's six-game trip.

Morales hasn't played since breaking his left ankle last May, but Scioscia said his return is getting closer.

"Once he's running 100% and he recovers the next day, he's ready to go play in games," Scioscia said.

Before coming off the disabled list, Scioscia said, Morales needs to get 30 to 40 at-bats in a minor league rehabilitation assignment, a process that could start as early as April 7 when the California League begins play.

"That would be a window we're looking at," Scioscia said. "But obviously we're not going to rush it."

Bad break

Torii Hunter's bat broke on his fifth-inning single to center, sending the meat end windmilling into the stands behind the Angels' dugout where it struck a woman in the head.

"I couldn't function, man. She was bleeding," said Hunter, who checked on the fan's condition between innings and passed a bat — an unbroken one — up to the woman's family.

"That's the best I can do. I can't do anything about it," he said. "Not saying it's my fault, but it's my bat that exploded. I hope and pray that she's all right."

The woman, whose name was not released, was eventually taken away in a wheelchair, a towel and ice pack pressed against her head. But she refused to leave the ballpark and eventually returned to the stands — albeit in a seat a little farther from the dugout.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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