ANAHEIM -- By simply stepping into the batter's box for his first regular-season game in more than 22 months, Kendrys Morales hit a big milestone on Friday night.
On Saturday afternoon, the switch-hitting slugger took it to another level, going 4-for-4 while providing the only real offensive spark for the Angels in his first start against a right-handed pitcher.
"I worked really hard in Spring Training," Morales said in Spanish, "and now I'm bringing that all to the regular season, and it's going good so far."
Morales went 0-for-2 from the right side on Friday, then singled from the left side of the plate before being replaced by pinch-runner Alexi Amarista in the eighth inning. On Saturday, he singled to left twice and to right once against Royals righty Luke Hochevar. Then, in the ninth, Morales doubled into the right-center-field gap off another righty, Jonathan Broxton, making him 5-for-7 to start the year.
Perhaps the best sign for Morales -- who batted .367 with a couple of homers while playing 13 spring games during his second comeback from a major injury -- is that he looks fine running the bases.
The 28-year-old had somewhat of an awkward moment in the seventh, when he hesitated on a bloop single to right field and had to retreat to third base, but Morales said that had more to do with continuing to adjust to game speed than trusting his recovering left ankle.
"I've pushed it pretty hard the last few days, and I haven't had any signs of extra pain or anything," Morales said after his club's 6-3 loss. "I've been running the bases for a while now. I've gotten a little bit more confidence in it these last few days, and every day I'm feeling better and better."
Trumbo experiences ups and downs at third
ANAHEIM -- A team-leading four errors aside, Angels slugger Mark Trumbo made major strides at third base throughout the spring. But on Friday, with a sell-out home crowd and Opening Night as the backdrop, the converted first baseman struggled at his new position, making an errant throw, losing a foul popup and finishing with two errors.
"I was really at ease, to be honest with you," Trumbo said Saturday, prior to a game in which he was out of the starting lineup. "I don't think I can make any excuses about being nervous. I felt like I had a pretty good mindset going in, but a couple of them just got away."
In the second, Trumbo did a nice job of cleanly fielding a hard-hit grounder by Royals second baseman Yuniesky Betancourt, but threw wide of first base -- "I just pulled that throw," he said -- with a sprawling Albert Pujols unable to keep his foot on the bag. Then, with Betancourt batting again in the seventh, Trumbo overran a high fly ball near the on-deck circle.
The 26-year-old wasn't making any excuses but did point out that a popup spins off the bat differently from the left side than it does the right -- yet another adjustment that's hardly visible to the naked eye.
Both misplays came with two outs, causing starter Jered Weaver to throw nearly 20 extra pitches. But in the eighth, Trumbo -- at third primarily for offense -- redeemed himself a bit with a line-drive single that kept an eventual five-run rally going.
"I definitely wasn't happy with the way the defensive side went," Trumbo said, "but the fact that I was able to hang in there, get a hit and continue that rally was pretty nice."
With Dan Haren facing Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar on Saturday, manager Mike Scioscia went with defense at the hot corner and plugged in Alberto Callaspo. It remains to be seen how many games Trumbo starts at the hot corner. In the end, it may simply come down to how well his bat plays.
But the Angels' skipper isn't going to let one game lose his confidence in him.
"He turns the page well," Scioscia said. "Trumbo is going to get some starts down there, no doubt."
Abreu in starting lineup for second game
ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn't let an underwhelming spring performance keep him from using Bobby Abreu early in the regular season. On Saturday afternoon, in Game 2 of the 2012 campaign, the veteran slugger made his way into Scioscia's lineup, batting sixth and playing left field against Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar.
With a righty on the mound and the quick turnaround from Friday night's game, Scioscia figured, this was as good a time as ever to get Abreu's bat in the lineup.
"Especially early in the season, we definitely want to use some of the left-handed bats we have when we can and keep these guys going," the Angels' skipper said. "And with the day-night, it's a good day to get some of those guys in the lineup."
Abreu went 0-for-2 against Hochevar, but lined out hard to right field against him and hit an RBI double off lefty Tim Collins in the seventh.
Abreu, who has previously expressed unhappiness with his limited role and was the subject of two trades that didn't pan out, batted just .127 (7-for-55) in 20 spring games. But Scioscia is clinging to the sentiment that Abreu's plate appearances looked a lot better as the regular season neared and -- perhaps somewhere very deep in the back of his mind -- factored in his .467 batting average in 15 career at-bats against Kansas City's starter.
This time, Abreu's presence in the lineup moved Vernon Wells to center field and came at the expense of Peter Bourjos, who went 2-for-3 on Friday and sat on Saturday.
"I think 'expense' is the wrong word," Scioscia corrected. "We talked about some of these guys being stretched a little bit last year. ... There are games out there and at-bats to be had that are going to keep our guys fresh."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.