Well, the big question to come out of today’s acquisition by the Mariners of Kendrys Morales was whether or not he’d be able to play first base on a regular basis. He played there only 28 games last season of his 134 total with the Angels in his comeback from breaking his leg back in 2010.
Morales, 29, in a conference call minutes ago, said through interpreter Luis Garcia that this off-season is the strongest he’s felt since his injury and that he is back to 100 percent physically. When asked about playing first base regularly, he had this to say.
“At this point, I think I’m 100 percent,” he said. “I’m ready to play every day. Obviously, that’s not my decision. But at the end of the day, I’m confident knowing that I’m 100 percent ready to play first base every day if that’s what’s needed.”
So, we’ll see where the Mariners go from here with that.
Looking at the numbers for Morales, he started slow, then really picked it up in August and September, posting an OPS of .900 and .829, respectively, those final two months.
I asked him how he felt physically as the season progressed.
“Last year, in terms of my start and finish, it’s obviously part of my recovery,” he said. “I didn’t feel 100 percent, but as the year wore on, I was able to build some more strength to have astronger base — especially in my left foot — and towards the end of the year, I ran much better. And now, I’m at a point where I can work during the off-season and continue the improvment from the latter part of last season and be ready for the upcoming campaign.”
Morales is also looking forward to the fences being moved in at Safeco Field, calling it a “positive development” that will help the Mariners do better at their own ballpark.
“For the batters, I think previously it was a little difficult probably to center field,” he said. “At the end of the day, it should be a benefit to all of our hitters.”
Morales said he’s more experienced now than when he was previously counted on to be a focal point of the Angels’ offense. He handled that role before and feels he could do it again in Seattle if needed to.
Right now, that looks like it will be the case.