Red-hot Morales not worrying about next year yet

MoralesSmile1

Mariners designated hitter Kendrys Morales finished Friday’s 11-8 loss to the Red Sox with four straight hits, extending his consecutive hit streak to eight at at-bats and putting him one shy of Raul Ibanez’s club record nine in a row set in 2004.

But while the red-hot hitter is putting together an excellent season, he said he’s not worrying about what happens when he becomes a free agent at year’s end. General manager Jack Zduriencik has indicated an interest in talking to Morales about staying in Seattle, but Morales said he’s only concerned with finishing this year strong for now.

“I feel comfortable here. I like what I see,” Morales said Saturday through interpreter Jaime Navarro, the team’s bullpen coach. “We have a young team and I like it a lot. But that’s something they need to work on, a decision from the office, and I’m not going to worry about it and just keep helping the team.

“I haven’t thought about it,” he said. “I’m not worrying about that. I’m worried about finishing strong and after that we’ll talk about it.”

Morales went 4-for-5 in Thursday’s series finale in Boston and 4-for-4 on Friday against the Orioles, becoming just the second player in Mariners history with back-to-back four hit games. Ichiro Suzuki pulled that feat three different times – July 20-21, 2004; Sept. 21-22, 2004 and June 6-7, 2006.

Going into Saturday’s game, Morales had gone 13-for-17 on the current road trip and 22-for-49 (.449) over his last 12 games as he hiked his batting average to .298 on the season.

Morales’ season high was three hits in a game until his back-to-back breakouts, but his career high is five hits in a game set in 2009 when he was with the Angels.

The 30–year-old Cuba native obviously is seeing the ball well right now and has made a conscious effort to get on pitchers quickly during his hot streak.

“I’m trying to be aggressive on the first pitch,” he said. “If they throw them for strikes, I’m going to go after them. That’s the best thing I’ve been doing. Right now I feel comfortable doing that and it’s working for me.”

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