Fresh off DL, Morse eager to be part of club's success

Fresh off DL, Morse eager to be part of club's success

Fresh off DL, Morse eager to be part of club's success

BOSTON -- Right fielder Michael Morse returned from a five-week stint on the disabled list Tuesday, eager to rejoin a Mariners club that has caught fire in July.

Morse was immediately penciled into the starting lineup in right field and sixth in the batting order for the series opener against the Red Sox.

"I feel good. I feel healthy. I'm ready to go," Morse said. "It's good to be back. The guys have been playing great, it's been fun to watch, and now I get a chance to be part of it."

The Mariners went 18-13 during Morse's stint on the DL after he finally succumbed to a strained right quadriceps muscle that had been hindering him for several weeks. The big slugger also played through a broken finger earlier in the season that slowed him after a hot start in April, when he had nine home runs by May 1.

Morse hit just two home runs in his next 31 games, however, putting him at .251 with 11 home runs and 23 RBIs in 56 games going into Tuesday's return.

"It's been a tough season," he said. "I had a couple injuries here and there, the finger and now this quad. But that's the season. Everybody plays with some injuries and stuff. I'm healthy now. I've got two more months to help out the team. My goal now is to try to help the team win as many ballgames as possible."

Morse hit .250 (6-for-24) in six rehab games with Triple-A Tacoma with a double, triple, home run and two RBIs. He said his leg has felt fine since he joined the Rainiers and it's just been a matter of regaining his timing.

"I feel good. Baseball-wise, I feel great," he said. "No rust. We've been playing this game since we were kids. I don't even think about it. My leg has felt good for a while now. I was just down there to play a little baseball."

Acting manager Robby Thompson said Morse will play right field as well as a little first base and possibly some designated hitter as he works his way back in. The Mariners designated Jason Bay for assignment on Monday to open a roster spot, but still have a logjam of outfielders with Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, Raul Ibanez and Endy Chavez all vying for time as well.

How will that juggling act play out?

"We're about to find out," Thompson said. "We'll go with matchups and who has the hot hand. Obviously Morse is going to have to get back in there and play on pretty much a consistent basis to get him going again. We'll do what we can to make it work."

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.