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M’s call up Morse, designate Valdez for assignment

Associated Press

SEATTLE – Hoping to spark their offense, the Seattle Mariners called up 23-year-old Mike Morse from Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday and designated Wilson Valdez for assignment.

Morse, acquired in the Freddy Garcia trade with the Chicago White Sox last June 27, was hitting .253 with four home runs and 23 RBIs in 49 games in the Pacific Coast League this season.

Valdez was claimed on waivers from the New York Mets and added to the Mariners’ major league roster April 1. In 42 games, he was hitting .198 with no homers and eight RBIs.

Manager Mike Hargrove said Morse will go into the starting lineup tonight against Toronto, giving him a day off after he flew to Seattle from Fresno, Calif., where the Tacoma Rainiers were playing, Tuesday.

“We didn’t bring him here not to play,” Hargrove said. “He’ll play the majority of the time.”

Morse came to Seattle in a trade from the White Sox with Miguel Olivo and Jeremy Reed for Garcia, a starting pitcher. Olivo started the season as Seattle’s No. 1 catcher, but was sent down to Tacoma on Monday because he was hitting only .145 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 37 games. Reed is Seattle’s starting center fielder and is hitting .269 with two homers and 19 RBIs.

Hargrove watched the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Morse in spring training and liked what he saw.

“I liked the way he swung the bat,” he said. “He’s not bashful. And I understand he’s made a lot of strides defensively in Tacoma this season.”

Seattle signed Pokey Reese, a veteran who played with the World Series champion Boston Red Sox last season, to be their starting shortstop during the offseason, but Reese hasn’t been able to play because of a right shoulder injury that required surgery. He is on the 60-day disabled list.

The Mariners’ other shortstop, Willie Bloomquist, was hitting .191 with no homers and 16 RBIs.

Morse said his intention is to stay in Seattle’s starting lineup. Despite his height, he thinks he can be a good defensive shortstop.

“This day and age, a lot of guys are taller,” he said. “I think my height helps me out on my range. I think it helps me out on hitting and power, too.”

The Mariners have 10 days to trade, assign to the minors or release Valdez. Hargrove said he loved what Valdez, who committed five errors, gave to the Mariners defensively.

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