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Morse is latest once and future Mariner

The SportsXchange

The Seattle Mariners have a long history of dipping back into their past -- pitchers Jeff Nelson and Norm Charlton as well as outfielders Ken Griffey Jr. and Raul Ibanez have all had two or more turns in Seattle.

The same is now true for Mike Morse, who recently came to the Mariners as part of a three-team trade with the Washington Nationals and the Oakland A's.

The difference is that Morse isn't coming back to the Pacific Northwest at the end of a big-time career. He spent parts of four seasons in Seattle, but didn't come of age until after a 2009 trade to Washington. In the last three years he has hit 64 homers, and the Mariners are counting on that kind of clout.

Morse missed 60 games last year, mostly because of back injuries, and he finished with 18 homers while averaging .291. A year earlier, in his first full big-league season, he had a .303 average and 31 bombs.

"I didn't get to play spring training," Morse said in describing his injury troubles in 2012. "When I got back, I had maybe 20 at-bats in rehab (before being pushed into duty). And I still hit .291 with 18. I feel I can hit the ball out of the Grand Canyon."

The Mariners would like to think so. He's going to get the chance to produce while playing at first, in left and right and while serving as the DH. But there is plenty of competition for those jobs, including Ibanez, his close friend and training partner, and first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales, acquired by Seattle earlier this offseason.

"This gives us some big pop in the lineup," Zduriencik said. "We were looking for a banger, and in Michael I think we got that. When you are in position to acquire an everyday guy who can hit the ball hard and hit the ball far, that helps."

Morse went so far as to thank Zduriencik, the man who traded him away without ever giving him an at-bat in 2009, for bringing him back.

"I've grown as a player; I've grown as a hitter," Morse said. "I've put in a lot of hard work, been through rough times and good times. I'm happy, more than that, really excited. It's great."
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