Watched Michael Morse in batting practice this morning and let me tell you, I have not seen a guy put a bat to a ball like that for this team since Russell Branyan came to camp four years ago. Jesus Montero used to hit some bombs last spring, but not as consistently as Morse was drilling them today. We’re talking line drives 20 feet over the center field fence.
His swing was pure power. Sure, Franklin Gutierrez hit some tape-measure BP shots a year ago. But the difference is, Morse has shown he can consistently do this in a game.
Just looking at Morse and Kendrys Morales, you know the middle of this batting order will have a much different look to it this season. And that should, in theory, make things easier for the rest of the offense. We’re not even talking about the fences coming in, yet. Morales has always been able to hit well at Safeco Field, while Morse would have no trouble clearing the old distance for the fences if he puts the type of fluid, easy, swings he did on balls today.
Yeah, it’s only batting practice. But this already looks different than the past several springs.
“It’s impressive,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of some of the bigger bats taking BP this year. “They all have their own type of presence and that means a lot to me. Obviously, they’re here to perform and that’s impressive.”
Wedge had Alex Liddi working at third base this morning and says that’s where he wants to play him most this year. Last year, the team moved Liddi over to first base, but given the glut of players who now profile for that spot he’s going back to his natural hot corner position.
The Mariners still have not abandonned the idea of Liddi — who arrived in camp looking like he’d slimmed considerably from a year ago — playing the outfield again at times.
“I think that needs to be a part of his game,” Wedge said. “Both with him and (Vinnie) Catricala, it’s only going to help us.”
Jon Garland and Jeremy Bonderman both threw their third bullpen sessions of the spring thus far as the Mariners try to see them as early and often as possible given their non-roster status. Both continue to throw free and easy ahead of what will be the more determining test — how they do against actual hitters.
The team will have its first live batting practice tomorrow morning. Hitters will mostly track the ball, but there are always a few who take their cuts.