Morales building case for Comeback Player award

Royals' DH homers off Tropicana Field catwalk in win over Rays

Morales building case for Comeback Player award

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kendrys Morales isn't an attorney, but when it comes to Comeback Player of the Year consideration, the Royals' designated hitter is making quite an argument.

The lastest case in point? Morales' two-out, two-run blast off the Tropicana Field catwalk in the third inning Friday night that powered the Royals to a 3-2 victory over the Rays.

Morales has 15 home runs, compared to only eight he hit in 2014, and his 89 RBIs are more than double the 42 that he collected last season.

"It's no secret to anybody what happened last year. I sat out," said Morales through an interpreter. "When I got back, I wasn't in rhythm. That affected me tremendously. This year, I was able to get a full offseason, full Spring Training, and I've been in rhythm since the opener."

"He had a rough year last year," said Royals manager Ned Yost of his switch-hitting DH, who leads the Majors with 46 two-out RBIs. "He didn't sign until [June 8], there was no Spring Training, no pre-at-bats to get ready for the season. He signed with Minnesota, got thrust right into the lineup and just got off to a slow start and never recovered."

Cut4: Morales' home run leaves Kiermaier hanging

Morales' struggles continued after a late-July trade to the Mariners, but the Royals felt there was still a lot of thunder left in his bat and made their feelings known by signing the slugger to a three-year deal in December.

"We knew what kind of player Kendrys is and we figured with Spring Training under his belt, a lot of at-bats in Spring Training to get him ready for the season, he'd be great and so far he has been," said Yost.

Ask any manager what quality he values most in a ballplayer and invariably, you'll get a one-word answer: Consistency. And Yost is no exception.

"Kendrys hasn't had a lot of highs and lows," Yost said. "He's been very, very steady, gotten a lot of big hits, picked up a lot of big RBIs for us and he's been an anchor in the middle of our lineup in terms of run production."

Michael Kolligian is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.