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Notes: Santana to sit out Classic

Right-hander choosing to focus on Angels' Spring Training

Ervin Santana delivers a pitch during Spring Training on Monday. (Paul Connors/AP)

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Ervin Santana has opted out of the World Baseball Classic.

The young right-hander considered over the last few days whether or not to pitch for the Dominican Republic in the WBC, but said the timing wasn't right.

"I want to focus on what we do and our season," Santana said of remaining in camp with the Angels. "You don't know what happens there with injuries."

Late last week, Santana was under the impression the Angels were asking him not to pitch, something Major League teams are not allowed to do according to the tournament's rules unless the player is hurt.

Both manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Bill Stoneman said that was simply a miscommunication, and both supported any of their players' desires to represent their home countries in the inaugural 16-team international tournament.

Santana went 12-8 with a 4.65 ERA in 23 starts for the Angels last season, but logged a career-high 192 innings and said that weighed into his decision.

Sleep on it: Both Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar threw bullpen sessions Monday, the last opportunity for the Angels to evaluate their starters for any possible injury before the start of the WBC. Tuesday is the deadline for all clubs to file an objection to players participating in the tournament for health reasons.

"We're not going to make the decision today. We're encouraged by both. Both are doing better than they were earlier," Stoneman said. "They both made progress. The real question to me is, will they be ready for the activity they are required to be ready for? Will they be ready in time for that first round? That's the real question."

It is no small concern. Colon strained his right shoulder last season, and Escobar had surgery to remove a bone chip and shave a bone spur in his right elbow. Neither has shown any sign of injury this spring, but the WBC is shortening the time frame in which these players must get ready.

MLB offices were closed Monday for the President's Day holiday, but Stoneman said he is uncertain on how the process works. He also wants to see how his pitchers feel on Tuesday.

"You always do that. Sometimes a guy looks real good and he's real stiff the next day. It will wait at least another day here," Stoneman said. "I still have some questions as to how this all works, and what this paperwork all means."

Closing in: The Angels will be getting their first extended look at Kendry Morales this spring, but they're not exactly holding an Opening Day roster spot for him.

While they remain confident that Morales has the ability to not only hit Major League pitching but excel at it, the Angels feel there is still some progress to be made and ample time to get it done.

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"You see the explosiveness in his bat, but then last year, you see things that he is going to have to work on to hit Major League pitching. And that is going to take experience, but this guy can swing it," Scioscia said. "He is approaching our depth chart. But for him to help us as we break camp would be a stretch, but we're open to anything."

Morales will work out at first base and as the DH. He has played third base and the outfield in the past, but Scioscia feels that to play another position now would set back his progress. Still, the organization sees nothing but upside in the 22-year-old.

"Kendry is a special talent that we want to have around for a long time," Scioscia said. "To do that, you have to be sure he is ready."

Even closer: Another Angels prospect who has been labeled can't-miss is Howie Kendrick, who currently projects as the closest to the Majors among the organization's Minor League infielders.

"Howie Kendrick is a guy that can hit right now in the big leagues, and hit in a big way in the big leagues," Scioscia said.

The question marks that remain for Kendrick are in the field, where Scioscia said the second baseman has made strides and still must progress further at the position to play it on a regular basis in the Majors. But if the offense needs a lift later in the year, Scioscia said Kendrick could get the call.

"We wouldn't rule him out as a DH because he can swing the bat," Scioscia said.

Angelic asides: Position players reported Monday, and a few filed into the clubhouse after taking their physicals at another location. ... The Angels first full-squad workout is Tuesday. ... Catchers took their first round of batting practice Monday.

Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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