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Mariners turn to Morrison for offense

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SEATTLE -- With Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders and Corey Hart all on the 15-day disabled list, the Mariners' search for offensive help has now turned to Logan Morrison, who is just back from seven weeks on the shelf himself with a strained hamstring.

In his second game since being activated, Morrison homered and doubled in a 2-for-4 night with two RBIs in Seattle's 6-3 loss to the Yankees on Thursday, a welcome sight for both manager Lloyd McClendon and Morrison.

Morrison was back in the lineup at first base in Friday's series opener against the Rangers, this time batting cleanup against right-hander Nick Tepesch.

The 26-year-old hit just .150 in his first eight games before going on the DL in mid-April. Thursday's home run and RBIs were his first since being acquired by the Mariners from the Marlins in an offseason trade for Carter Capps.

"It's definitely not the way I envisioned things going, but you can't do anything about it now," Morrison said. "I just have to keep moving forward, keep getting better."

Morrison has been hampered by injuries ever since hitting 23 home runs and 72 RBIs as a rookie for the Marlins in 2011, with two knee surgeries limiting his production the past two years. He said finally getting everyday at-bats for an 18-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma -- when he hit .308 -- helped finally get him in a groove.

"It's been huge," Morrison said. "At the beginning of the year, I didn't even have a feel for what was going on. Everything was to the second baseman. Now when I hit the ball to the second baseman, at least I know what I did. Now I have to correct that and maybe not hit so many there."

Morrison is a confident sort, enough so that he feels he could be a significant factor in helping the Mariners' offense going forward.

"I know what I'm capable of when I'm healthy," he said. "I feel, as every hitter should when they step in the box, that there's no pitcher better than them. Now it's up to me to execute, swing at good pitches to hit and put the barrel on it. Then whatever happens, happens."

McClendon said the extended time in Tacoma definitely paid off for Morrison, who was just 3-for-20 in eight games prior to his injury.

"There's no question about it," McClendon said. "The biggest mistake we can do is if a guy gets hurt, have him go down and get three days of at-bats and think he's going to be ready. I told him when he left that he'd come back here when he was swinging the bat well and I think it's paid off. He's got a little bit of a groove going and is feeling good about what he's doing and it helps."

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.

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