Designated hitter Kendrys Morales says he has played too many seasons to feel pressure with a new team.
That was evident in his Royals debut Monday at Kauffman Stadium.
Morales, who batted fifth, drew a walk in his first at-bat and reached first base four times in the Royals’ 10-1 opening day victory against the Chicago White Sox. He finished with three walks for the first time since 2012, as an Angel, and knocked a double through the hole at second base. He also scored twice.
“I can’t complain,” Morales said with catching coach Pedro Grifol as a translator. “It was a great team effort and a great way to start the season. I pray to God that we can keep it going like that.”
Although Morales was unsigned for the first part of the 2014 season, manager Ned Yost said the Royals are confident that this could be a resurgence year for Morales, 31.
Morales, who signed a two-year, $17 million contract Dec. 16, split time between Minnesota and Seattle for a total of eight home runs in 98 games last year. It was a far cry from his career-best marks of 34 home runs and 108 RBIs with the Angels in 2009, but a lower leg fracture in 2010 slowed him down significantly in recent years.
Part of what made Morales most intriguing to Yost is his ability to add versatility to the lineup as a switch hitter between lefties Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon. Morales is the club’s only switch hitter on the 25-man active roster.
“They can bring in a lefty to face Hos, but they have that switch hitter that can turn around and have your right, left still going on,” Yost said. “We think that him in the five spot will be really productive for us.”