Kendrys Morales exctied to makes A's debut: 'I'm happy to be here'

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Ben Ross
The A's needed a left-handed bat, and they got one Thursday when they acquired Morales.
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Kendrys Morales exctied to makes A's debut: 'I'm happy to be here' originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

OAKLAND -- The A's lineup will look a little different Friday night as the newly-acquired Kendrys Morales makes his Oakland debut.

The 35-year-old will bat fifth, behind Khris Davis, and play first base.

"I'm happy to be here and looking to support what the club is doing," Morales said through a translator. "It's obviously a very talented team. There's a lot of young talent here."

Added A's manager Bob Melvin: "When we acquired him, it seemed like the right fit. He's got a lot of power, especially from the left side of the plate. ... He's hit in the middle of the order before – a lot of times fourth – so I don't think fifth will be foreign to him."

A switch-hitter, Morales has enjoyed most of his success against right-handed pitching. Last year in Toronto, he hit .274/.366/.495 against righties with 18 home runs and 45 RBI in 277 at-bats.

"You look up and down our lineup, we were a little short on left-handed bats," Melvin said. "With (Matt Olson) out a little bit, it's actually a pretty good fit over there. ... He's an added piece for us against right-handed pitching."

Morales has primarily served as a designated hitter the last several years, but he did start 17 games at first base in 2018 and remains confident in his defensive abilities.

"I'm always excited in the offseason to have a long workout to get ready – not to be a designated hitter – but to play in the field defensively," he said. "So I'm looking forward to the opportunity presented here."

[RELATED: How Robbie Grossman impressed Bob Melvin in A's home opener]

Morales' production at the plate has held pretty steady the last few years, even into his mid-30s. He recorded 21 home runs and 57 RBI last season and 28 homers and 85 RBI the year before.

"He's always a threat," Melvin said. "He's a home run hitter so he'll fit in with our team."