The injuries keep piling up for the Miami Marlins, and first baseman Michael Morse has become the latest Fish to shore up on the disabled list. On Tuesday, the club placed Morse on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 24, with a strained ligament in his right finger, according to ESPN.
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Morse’s injury is a major setback for a team that sits 11 games below .500, but it hurts a little less knowing that Morse has struggled mightily this season. The 33-year-old who in the offseason signed a two-year deal to become Miami’s full-time first baseman is hitting .211/.268/.289 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 38 games. He is just 2-for-his-last-22 and hasn’t been in the starting lineup since May 20.
Morse is a career-.277 hitter who owns a .795 OPS in 10-plus big league seasons. Last year for the San Francisco Giants, he slashed .279/.336/.475 in a very pitcher-friendly ballpark. The computers and metrics expected some regression this season, but the nose dive in Morse’s production is alarming. If his finger has been bothering him for an extended period of time, maybe this DL trip will give the Marlins the Michael Morse they thought they were getting when they inked him for two-years and $16 million in December.
New Marlins manager Dan Jennings has obviously preferred Justin Bour, as he has essentially taken over full-time at first since Mike Redmond was fired. Bour has played quite well–he’s hitting .358 with an inflated .942 OPS in a brief 58 plate appearances–and he smacked a solo home run off Gerrit Cole in this afternoon’s game in Pittsburgh. In Morse’s absence and if he continues to scuffle when he returns, the Marlins feel like they have a capable young first baseman to take the reigns and produce in the middle of the lineup.
Jeff Baker got the start at first on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh with left-hander Jeff Locke on the mound. Baker went 0-for-2 with a walk before giving way to Bour as a pinch runner. Baker, a 33-year-old utility player, is a candidate to fill in at first based on future pitching matchups, or when Bour needs a day off.
Morse joins a flurry of Marlins players who have hit the DL in recent days. Henderson Alvarez, Mat Latos and Jarred Cosart all went on the shelf last week, rendering Miami’s starting rotation painfully thin. Jose Fernandez, Don Kelly, Jeff Mathis and Aaron Crow round out the extensive ledger of injured Marlins.
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