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Twins send Kendrys Morales back to Seattle

Minnesota Twins first baseman Kendrys Morales (17) hits a single in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Target Field on July 21, 2014. (Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)

The Twins’ fire sale has begun.

Less than seven weeks after signing Kendrys Morales to bolster their lineup, the Twins dealt the veteran switch-hitter back to the Seattle Mariners for Triple-A right-hander Stephen Pryor.

The Twins aren’t sending along any money in the deal, according to a person with direct knowledge, which means the Mariners are on the hook for the entire $4.33 million that remains on Morales’ one-year contract, signed on June 8.

In his 47 days with the Twins, Morales earned roughly $3.08 million while hitting just one homer and driving in 18 runs. The Cuban designated hitter saw significant time at first base in recent weeks after Joe Mauer landed on the disabled list, but the bulk of Morales’ value has always been his bat.

Booed by Seattle fans during a recent Twins visit, Morales rejected a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Mariners last offseason. That led to him sitting out all of spring training and the first two-plus months this season while his agent, Scott Boras, searched for a suitable landing spot.

The Twins waited until after the start of the June 5-7 draft to avoid losing a second-round draft pick. They came to terms with Morales on June 7 and introduced him a day later.

Morales opened his Twins career with a six-game hitting streak, but after averaging 26.3 homers in his past three full seasons, the 31-year-old’s power stroke never materialized.

The trade comes one week before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Pryor, 25, opened the year on the Mariners disabled list after surgery on his right lat. He has appeared in 34 games with the Mariners, posting a 2.81 earned-run average with 35 strikeouts in 32 innings.

A fifth-round pick in 2010 out of Tennessee Tech, he will be assigned to Triple-A Rochester. Pryor is 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds.

Morales’ combined on-base/slugging percentage was just .584 for the Twins despite the fact he enjoys hitting at Target Field. He hit .234 in 162 plate appearances, drawing just five unintentional walks and striking out 27 times.

His park- and league-adjusted OPS was 62, or 38 percent below league average.

To take Morales’ spot on the 25-man roster, infielder Jorge Polanco was recalled from Class A Fort Myers. Polanco has been playing both middle infield spots for the Miracle and showed potential during a four-game call-up in late June.