SEATTLE -- After spending Sunday at designated hitter to rest a sore back, Kendrys Morales returned to first base Monday as the Mariners opened a three-game set with the Astros.
"He says he feels good enough to get back in there," said manager Eric Wedge. "And that allows us to DH Michael Morse. We'll see how [Morse] is tonight, too. He was pretty sore yesterday."
Morales has been the Mariners biggest offensive threat, hitting .293 with eight home runs and a team-leading 35 RBIs in 239 at-bats as a needed middle-of-the-order presence.
"That's something we haven't had here the last couple years," Wedge said. "Now we have to do a better job of surrounding him. He's a switch-hitter with some power, a run producer. He's a great influence, as are the other veterans. But Kendrys just has a way about him with all the guys."
Morales has been the Mariners' best clutch hitter as well, with his eight game-winning RBIs tied for second in the American League.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.