Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales watches batting practice. (Kirby Lee / US Presswire )
Kendrys Morales said the decision to visit a Colorado specialist for a second opinion on his slower-than-expected rehabilitation from a broken left ankle originated with his family and his representatives, but the Angels wholly endorse the move.
"I don't think he's going to gain any revolutionary information, but is there something we're missing, a different approach that can help him?" Lewis Yocum, the Angels' team physician, said Sunday. "The purpose of a second opinion is to get as much insight as possible, to get a fresh perspective."
Morales, who has not played since breaking the ankle when he jumped into home plate in celebration of a walk-off home run May 29, has been under the care of Yocum and Dr. Phil Kwong, a foot and ankle specialist at the Kerlan-Jobe clinic.
His recovery has stalled to the point where he was shut down last week and took a cortisone injection — his second in three months — to ease the inflammation and discomfort. He still has not taken turns on the bases or run straight ahead at full speed.
"He gets relief [from the injection], but if we push him too hard, the ankle gets reactive," Yocum said. "We have to find that magic formula so we're not pushing him so hard the ankle is flaring up."
Morales will travel to Vail for a Tuesday meeting with Thomas O. Clanton, an orthopedic surgeon and director of foot and ankle sports medicine at the Steadman Clinic. Clanton has served as team physician for the NBA's Houston Rockets and NFL's Houston Texans.
"We talked to the manager about getting a second opinion, which is always good to have," Morales said through a translator. "This is just so I can take the last step and feel comfortable going forward. We're going to the specialist because he knows best."
Yocum deemed the ankle surgery in June a success but said it's possible Morales may need another procedure to clean out scar tissue.
"He had a devastating injury, and we're seeing the problems associated with an injury of this magnitude — stiffness and soreness," Yocum said. "We hoped he'd be doing more, but is it surprising? No. Is it disappointing? Absolutely. And it's very frustrating for Kendrys."
Yocum wouldn't give a ballpark estimate on when he thought Morales, who hit .306 with 34 home runs and 108 runs batted in in 2009, would return.
"He'll be ready when he's ready," Yocum said. "We want him back when he's healthy and it's safe to be back. There's no sense in getting half a Kendrys back."
Added Manager Mike Scioscia: "I'm sure he's going to play this year. We've had indications he's getting close to playing, but he hasn't crossed that last threshold."
Walking a tightrope
A bullpen that hadn't given up a run in its last 131/3 innings of work survived a shaky eighth inning and a scary ninth in the Angels' 6-5 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
Fernando Rodney failed to protect a 3-2 lead in the eighth, giving up two runs and three hits, including Travis Hafner's run-scoring single and Orlando Cabrera's run-scoring fielder's choice.
The Indians nicked closer Jordan Walden for a run in the ninth inning on consecutive doubles by Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera. But Walden struck out the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana, for his sixth save.