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Morales healthy, ready to contribute in Seattle

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Kendrys Morales said he knew he was gone from the Angels as soon as they acquired Josh Hamilton over the offseason, and now he's ready to do the best he can for his new Mariners team.

Morales, speaking in Spanish to MLB.com reporter Alden Gonzalez, said he's excited about his new situation after eight years in the Angels organization.

"We have a good team this year," Morales said. "And the best thing is, a lot of the guys are young."

As for leaving the Angels in the December trade for Jason Vargas?

"I figured something was in the works," Morales said. "I was ready for the call they gave me. It didn't take me by surprise at all. As soon as they signed Josh Hamilton, I started preparing myself. They didn't tell me anything, I just figured that would be the case. It was a quick change, just like that."

Morales is 0-for-5 in his first two games for the Mariners this spring. He didn't play in Tuesday's game against the Brewers, but is expected to be a mainstay in the middle of Seattle's lineup at designated hitter or first base this season.

For Morales, the key is staying healthy. At this point last spring, he wasn't able to play at all, as he was still recovering from the fractured ankle that wiped out his entire 2011 season. He told Gonzalez that this has been a completely different spring.

"I feel pretty good," Morales said. "I had a pretty intense offseason, and I strengthened my ankle a lot. I don't think it's going to be a problem to play first base.

"I can do weights all the way on my legs; I don't have to be in rehab mode," he said. "That would take up a lot of my time [last year] and I wasn't able to work on my body as much as I'd like.

"This is a very important year," said the pending free agent, "and you have to be ready physically to play the whole year. What can really mess you up is injuries. That's what you have to avoid."

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