Miami Marlins

Marlins’ Michael Morse optimistic despite being benched again in favor of Justin Bour

Michael Morse is hitting .193 with two homers and eight RBI in 23 games this season and has struck out 28 times.
Michael Morse is hitting .193 with two homers and eight RBI in 23 games this season and has struck out 28 times. EL Nuevo Herald

The Marlins signed Michael Morse to a two-year, $16 million deal in December with the idea he would be able to provide what Garrett Jones couldn’t last season at first base ‒ power, defense and consistency.

So far that hasn’t happened, and on Tuesday, Morse found himself on the bench again for the second day in a row and the third time in the past four days.

Is Morse angry? Apparently not.

“I’m always just about winning and I’m happy for anybody that gets a chance to play ‒ especially [Justin] Bour,” Morse said. “He’s swinging the bat awesome. [Monday] that [go-ahead] home run [in the seventh inning] was big for us. Even if I was in there today I’d probably run into manager’s office and tell them, ‘Better play that guy.’ Like I said, I’m all about winning man.”

Morse, hitting .193 with two homers and eight RBI in 23 games, has struck out 28 times this season. He struck out three times in four at-bats the last time he started Sunday. Still, he remains optimistic.

“Last time I started out bad I had the best year of my career ‒ so I’m pretty excited,” said Morse, who after a dreadful April in 2011 (.211, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 21 Ks) but finished the season with career-highs in batting average (.303), homers (31) and RBI (95).

“I’ve never met a baseball player who has had a career where they haven’t gone through some rough patches. I mean, I’ve had times like this my whole career. I’m not worried about it. I know what I can do, and hopefully I get a chance to do it.”

Manager Mike Redmond, who inserted Bour into the starting lineup for the second day in row, reiterated Morse remains in the Marlins’ long-term plans. But he’s also taking things “day to day” with Morse.

“Sometimes resting a guy for a couple days and getting his mind clear and free is exactly what they need,” Redmond said. “We need this guy. We’ve got to get him going.”

RAMOS HAS NECK INJURY

The Marlins bullpen had a night to forget Monday, blowing leads in the seventh and eighth innings in a 6-4 loss to the Nationals. Turns out they were a little short-handed.

Redmond said pitcher A.J. Ramos was unavailable with a neck injury after he took a misstep on the mound Sunday.

Redmond said he likely would have turned to Ramos to face Jayson Werth with two outs and the tying run on third in the seventh inning. Instead, Sam Dyson surrendered the tying run when Werth smacked an 0-2 pitch to center.

The Marlins retook the lead 4-2 in the top of the eighth, but the Nationals rallied with four runs against Bryan Morris in the bottom half of the frame.

“We just want to give [Ramos] a couple extra days to make sure everything is all right,” Redmond said. “[Morris] has pitched a couple of days in a row too, and a lot of pitches. So we might have to use a couple different guys out there [Tuesday].”

▪ The Marlins officially cut ties with Jarrod Saltalamacchia on Tuesday after being unable to find a trade partner since they designated him for assignment April 27. They will have to eat the $14.2 million remaining on the catcher’s three-year, $21 million contract.

Any team can now sign Saltalamacchia for a prorated share of the $507,500 major-league minimum. What the Marlins owe Saltalamacchia will be reduced by that amount.

▪ Left fielder Christian Yelich will play one more rehab game Wednesday in Jupiter before likely rejoining the Marlins in San Francisco later this week. Yelich, on the disabled list since April 20 with a back strain, played seven innings in his second rehab game Monday and had a stolen base and a hit.

COMING UP

Wednesday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (2-2, 4.67 ERA) at Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (1-3, 1.26), 1:05 p.m.

Thursday: Marlins RHP Dan Haren (3-1, 2.70) at Giants RHP Tim Hudson (1-2, 3.78), 10:15 p.m.

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