Angels third baseman Mark Trumbo, left, congratulates designated hitter… (Paul Connors / Associated…)
Kendrys Morales will play his first regular-season game in 22 months, and Mark Trumbo will make his first start at third base Friday night when the Angels open the 2012 season against the Kansas City Royals at Angel Stadium.
Oh, and there’s also a new guy you might have heard of over at first base. Albert Pujols, the three-time National League most valuable player who was signed to a 10-year, $240-million deal in December, will make his Angels debut in perhaps the most anticipated season in the franchise's 52-year history.
The addition of Pujols and the return of Morales, who has not played since suffering a broken left ankle on May 29, 2010, coupled with the addition of left-hander C.J. Wilson to an already superb rotation has fueled World Series expectations in Anaheim.
“We’ve had high-profile guys come here before, and naturally, as your team gets stronger and the prospect of reaching your goals becomes much clearer, you’re excited about that,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “But there’s a lot of work to do. We have a much deeper team than we’ve had in a long time. Hopefully, we’ll be productive on the the field.”
Jered Weaver will make his third straight opening-day start, while left-hander Bruce Chen will start for Kansas City. Trumbo, who led the team with 29 home runs and 87 runs batted in last season, was moved off of first base by Pujols.
The Angels lineup: SS Erick Aybar, 2B Howie Kendrick, 1B Albert Pujols, RF Torii Hunter, LF Vernon Wells, DH Kendrys Morales, 3B Mark Trumbo, C Chris Iannetta, CF Peter Bourjos, P Jered Weaver.
The Royals lineup: LF Alex Gordon, CF Lorenzo Cain, 1B Eric Hosmer, DH Billy Butler, RF Jeff Francoeur, 2B Yuniesky Betancourt, 3B Mike Moustakas, C Brayan Pena, SS Alcides Escobar, P Bruce Chen.
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