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Kendrys Morales named Silver Slugger winner at designated hitter

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals slugger Kendrys Morales enjoyed his best season since 2009, and on Thursday he got an award to show for it. Morales won the American League’s Silver Slugger Award for designated hitter; the accolade is given to players deemed the best hitter at their position by coaches and managers.

The free agent acquisition of Morales proved key to the Royals offensive success in 2015 as he was a force in the middle of the lineup with 22 home runs and 106 runs batted in during the regular season. His four home runs in the playoffs tied Salvador Perez for the team lead, and he also knocked in 10 runs en route to a World Series championship.

Morales filled the void left by Billy Butler, who signed a free agent deal with the Oakland Athletics during the last offseason and was also the last Royals player to win a Silver Slugger. Butler won his in 2012, also at the designated hitter position.

Morales was an emerging star when he was with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, finishing fifth in Most Valuable Player voting in 2009 when he hit 34 home runs and had 108 RBI. A freak accident derailed his time with LA when he fractured his leg celebrating a game-winning grand slam in 2010.  He returns for the Royals in 2016, and has a mutual option with the club to remain in 2017 for $11 million.