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Michael Morse brings power back east with trade to Orioles
NEW YORK — Trying to make the postseason for the second straight year, the Baltimore Orioles acquired outfielder Michael Morse from the Seattle Mariners on Friday to provide a right-handed boost to a lineup focused around lefty slugger Chris Davis.
The Orioles sent outfield prospect Xavier Avery to Seattle in a waiver trade. The Orioles also had won a waiver claim on Minnesota’s Josh Willingham, but the teams couldn’t work out a deal before Friday’s noon deadline.
Morse was in Houston with the Mariners, and Baltimore expects him to arrive in New York on Saturday or Sunday — the final two games of a weekend series against the Yankees.
“He’s a professional hitter,” manager Buck Showalter said.
The 31-year-old Morse offers another right-handed power bat to protect Davis, the major league’s top home run hitter with 47 long balls. Morse has hit .293 against left-handers in his nine-year career.
“It seems like every left-hander that is alive and breathing is going to come out of the woodwork,” Showalter said. “He can help us with some of that.”
A .284 career hitter, Morse slumped to a .226 average with 13 homers and 27 RBI in 76 games in his return to Seattle after four years in Washington, where he set career highs with 31 homers and 95 RBI in 2011.
Morse missed about six weeks with a broken finger on his right hand this year. He has two homers and four RBI in 76 at-bats since his return from the disabled list at the end of July.
“Injuries were the biggest part of it,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said of Morse’s struggles. “He got off to a good start the first couple of weeks, then it was just injury after injury.”
Avery spent time at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk this season. The left-hander hit a combined .259 with 70 runs scored and is 29 for 37 on stolen base attempts. He hit .223 with six steals in 32 games for the Orioles last season.
Also, Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel, out with a flexor strain since July 29, is scheduled to make a rehab start for short-season Aberdeen on Tuesday. He should be activated on Sept. 7 or 8.
By John R. Bolton
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