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Morse supplies power and attitude for the Mariners

By Shannon Drayer

Michael Morse crushed a baseball Tuesday night. He hit it to a spot in the Coliseum that I haven’t seen a ball hit to in 10 years of traveling to Oakland for Mariners-A’s games. According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, the ball traveled 446 feet and came off of his bat at a blistering 107.7 mph.

M’s outfielder Michael Morse hit two home runs Tuesday, including a solo shot in the ninth that traveled an estimated 446 feet. (AP)

Awe factor aside, and it was considerable, Eric Wedge after the game preferred to focus on the process.

“Tenacity,” Wedge answered when asked what stood out about that at-bat. “He was up there, he’s hungry. Like I have said before, he is a hitter first. He’s a big, strong, guy but he takes a lot of pride in being a good hitter first. That is a good example of how having a veteran guy up there, that younger kids can see them making adjustments from game to game. You get better and you make them from at-bat to at-bat and to really get there you make adjustments within the at-bat.

“I think that was a great at-bat.”

While Morse’s second at-bat – which resulted in a three-run home run – was all about squaring up the ball and trying to drive in a run or two, his final at-bat was with the bases empty and a five-run lead in the ninth inning. He could do a little more work. Coming from the National League he wanted to get a good look at Oakland’s closer, Grant Balfour, someone he knew he would be facing multiple times this year.

“I really beared down,” Morse said on the field after the Mariners’ 7-1 win . “He threw some good pitches and I was trying to swing a little too hard the first couple of passes at the ball and then right there I relaxed and let him supply the power and I just got a good swing and put the bat on the ball.”

He made adjustments, as Wedge said. The fourth fastball that Balfour threw him was right down the middle and Morse was able to time it perfectly. He tossed his bat, made the trip around the bases and then it was into the dugout to celebrate with his new teammates.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” he told me. “This team, there is so much talent I feel we are going to do some great things this year and I get excited especially when we put up some runs for these pitchers.”

Morse knows what it is like to win. He knows what it is like to compete. He knows what it is like to celebrate on the field. He brings a swagger to this team. No doubt, it has got to be a different but good feeling for his teammates to know they have someone in their lineup who can do what Morse did Tuesday night.

It is good to have a threat in the lineup.

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