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Gibbons expecting a productive season from Blue Jays newcomer Morales

Gibbons expecting big year from Morales

TORONTO — John Gibbons hasn’t had much to feel good about seven games into the Blue Jays’ 2017 season.

He feels good about how Kendrys Morales is fitting in with his ball club, though.

After dropping to 1-6 on the year with a 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in Toronto’s home opener Tuesday night, the Blue Jays manager applauded Morales for a 3-for-4 night at the plate.

He expects more nights like that in the future.

“I think he’s going to have a monster year for us, I really do,” Gibbons said. “You look back at the beginning of the season, shoot he was barrelling just about everything. He had a lot of tough luck. He can have a lot more (hits) than he’s got right now.

“I think he’s a big addition for us.”

Morales, who also scored a run and reached base on a fielding error, raised his batting average from .208 to .286 with Tuesday’s performance.

He has one home run and six runs batted in, second only on the team to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who had three Tuesday night to bring his total to nine.

Morales, a 34-year-old switch-hitter who spent the last two seasons with the Kansas City Royals, was brought over to Toronto in the off-season to replace the power the Blue Jays were losing with the free-agent departure of Edwin Encarnacion.

“I always admired the guy when he was on the other team,” Gibbons said of Morales. “You could tell he’s a good hitter, not just a slugger, a good hitter. When you watch him every day you like him even more.

“He’s probably one of the most happy guys you’ll come across. Every day he’s one of the first guys here and he’s got a smile on his face. He really appreciates what he has and what he’s doing and I guarantee that’s a big part of his success.”

Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press