Twins sign slugger Morales to one-year deal

Switch-hitter Kendrys Morales played just 31 games at first base and was the DH 122 times for the Mariners in 2013.

Rick Osentoski/Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins officially have signed free-agent veteran Kendrys Morales, the team confirmed Sunday morning.

Morales, 30, had yet to sign with a team this season before agreeing to a one-year deal with the Twins on Saturday. The seven-year veteran spent six years with the Los Angeles Angels and played the 2013 season with the Seattle Mariners. Morales is a career .280 hitter with 102 home runs and 345 RBI.

The addition of Morales helped motivate Minnesota to designate veteran Jason Kubel for release or assignment on Sunday.  Kubel was batting just .224 with one homer and 13 RBI this season — and a mere .158 with one RBI since May 1. 

The switch-hitting Morales played just 31 games at first base and was the designated hitter 122 times for the Mariners in 2013. Because Morales has not played yet this season, it remains to be seen when he’ll be ready to join the Twins’ major-league roster.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked for his thoughts on Morales after Minnesota’s 8-0 win against Houston on Saturday.

"I don’t know really anything about it," Gardenhire said. "That’s all they are is rumors to me right now. I can’t comment on something I really don’t know a lot about.

"We’ve always liked the guy. We know he can hit. He’s always been able to hit, and (be) a run producer. We all know he’s out there, and we all know that everybody’s trying to talk to him. Hopefully he comes our way. That would be wonderful."

The deal with Morales seems to indicate that the Twins believe they can compete this season. Minnesota is 29-31 and sits five games behind first-place Detroit in the American League Central. Adding another bat like Morales could help the Twins stay in contention.

"I was excited to hear that. I think anybody in the clubhouse is excited any time you make a move for a player like that," said right-hander Kyle Gibson, who earned the win Saturday. "We feel like we’ve got a good team here. The starting pitching is starting to roll pretty good. The defense is playing good. … We’re pretty confident in the way we’re playing right now, so adding a player like that is always a positive."

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