ANAHEIM, Calif. — Kendrys Morales had already considered the wave of emotions he might feel when he stepped to the plate for the Los Angeles Angels for the first time in nearly two years.
After what the Cuban slugger went through to get back to home plate at Angel Stadium, he's not exactly sweating it.
"Being nervous is for kids," Morales said with a chuckle.
Although Albert Pujols' debut overshadows everything this weekend in Anaheim, Morales' return from a broken ankle is also cause for celebration.
"I always had positive thoughts," Morales said. "I always felt that if I worked hard, I could get back to where I needed to be. ... You feel a little bit. You get excited because you've been out for two years, but you've got to control your emotions, because it's going to be a long season."
Morales hadn't played in the majors since May 29, 2010, when he broke his left ankle while leaping onto home plate to celebrate a game-ending grand slam.
With everything going well in Arizona, Angels manager Mike Scioscia saw no reason to delay Morales' comeback. He returned Morales to his lineup immediately, with struggling veteran Bobby Abreu starting the season on the bench.
RYAN, VENTURA TALK AGAIN: Robin Ventura and Nolan Ryan spoke Friday for the first time since their infamous brawl 19 seasons ago.
Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher who is the Texas Rangers president, went to the visitors' clubhouse before the season opener at Rangers Ballpark to wish good luck to Ventura before his managerial debut for the Chicago White Sox.
It was their first meeting since a hot August night at old Arlington Stadium in 1993 when Ventura, then a 26-year-old third baseman for the White Sox, charged the mound. Ryan, 20 years older and in the last year of his record 27-year playing career, got Ventura in a headlock and landed several blows.
"It was just one of those things and it kind of took a life of its own," Ryan said in the Rangers dugout about an hour before Friday's game.
BRAUN HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE: For Ryan Braun, winning an appeal of a 50-game suspension was only his first step toward redemption.
Now the Milwaukee Brewers slugger is out to show fans that he can shake off what became a tumultuous offseason after a failed drug test that tarnished his reputation, and regain the form that made him the NL's MVP last season.
Braun says he's motivated "not so much about proving anybody wrong, as it much as it is proving the people who all believed in me and supported me right."
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