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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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April 23, 2008 3:29 PM

Morse undergoes surgery

Posted by Larry Stone

Some tough news for Mike Morse, who underwent surgery yesterday for a torn labrum in his left shoulder that will almost certainly end his season. According to the Mariners, he will require a six-month rehabilitation schedule prior to his return to full activity. He should be able to start swinging a bat in approximately four months.

This injury didn't seem nearly this serious when Morse hurt himself on April 13 against the Angels, landing awkwardly on his left shoulder diving for a ball in right. I remember asking him after the game if he expected to go on the disabled list. "Nah, I don't think so,'' he replied.

But an MRI revealed he had dislocated his shoulder, and a torn labrum was also discovered. The surgery was performed by Dr. Edward Khalfayan, the Mariners medical director, at the Seattle Surgery Center. The surgery "went well," according to Khalfayan in a team-issued press release.

I feel badly for Morse, a good guy who was very excited to make the team out of spring training after a great spring. I hope he is able to resume his career next year.

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Posted by ak-rowdy

3:35 PM, Apr 23, 2008

That sucks.

Posted by BrianL

3:38 PM, Apr 23, 2008

That's a shame, really. Morse could have been a useful corner-infield backup, a definite improvement over Cairo. Looks like Norton is going to stay on the club for a while, unless the club decides to call up a real backup outfielder.

Posted by Get Griffey

3:39 PM, Apr 23, 2008

That's just terrible; he finally makes the team out of spring and gets a chance to maybe earn a full time spot in right field when disaster strikes.

Just very depressing for him, hope he can make a good come back.

Posted by scottM

3:50 PM, Apr 23, 2008

Bad news about Morse.

Specifically to your point in the last post, Donovan, how long does this team give Wilkerson, who was acquired in good part because he was "projected" to have power to Safeco's right field, but through 45 at bats, has only 3 doubles, five singles and an OPS of .546? His stats indicate power, but he hasn't even hit the ball to the warning track except three or four times. Are his age and past injuries catching up to him, or is he simply having a difficult time adjusting to a new team during April? At this point, why should we care why? So far, we haven't seen even any indication of a power stroke, several poor decisions in the field, and precious little if any hints of upside to his game.

Why not bring up Wlad Balentien? His on-the-job-training, can't be worse than what we have now. His OPS after 53 at bats with Tacoma is an impressive .843 with 3 HRs and 5 doubles. Even adjusting for the majors, this has got to be an upgrade, not to mention that Balentien should be given a shot for the long term. Bring him up now and let him adjust so he will be battle tested when the M's enter the playoff run during August and September.


Posted by Miles

4:22 PM, Apr 23, 2008

Sucks for Morse but also raises the question of why the team didn't trade him after his hot spring. He'll never have the kind of power to justify being a starter on this team, so his value was the highest it's been in some time this spring. Now he's got no value.

The M's needed a power hitter in the outfield and the only guy who has that potential is and has been Balentien. Why they are wasting their time on other people is a total mystery to me.

Posted by stat boys dad

4:30 PM, Apr 23, 2008

Miles not to be mean but weren't you the one a while back saying let's find a spot for Morse?
Personaly we watched him work out before a Portlane game at PGE and he was busting his backside. He impressed the hell out of all of us watching. He will be back and i would susprect he will take a job away from somebody...he has the tools and the mind!! Go Mike put your head up and show everyone you belong, you do!! Balentine is the answer in Right, I do agree with others!

Posted by Jared

4:33 PM, Apr 23, 2008

Dang, that is really dissapointing. He is a great guy and I liked watching him play. It'll be interesting to see who they have be the back-up outfielder. I hope BALENTIEN. That most likely will not happen. No clue Morse was even getting surgery. Dang.

Posted by barry_bonds

4:38 PM, Apr 23, 2008

nothing a little HGH won't take care of, right?

Posted by GetJimmy

4:40 PM, Apr 23, 2008


Jimmy provides adequate defense, speed, and some pop to the bench. He would be a tremendous addition to the bench and could platoon platoon with Wilkerson in right field. In a perfect world I would like to see Cairo released and a bench that included Bloomquist, Jimerson, and Greg Norton.

That is all.

Posted by retriever

4:50 PM, Apr 23, 2008

Memo to Ichiro

re: Not diving.

Nevermind, please ignore previous comments.


Baseball Punditry.

Posted by John

4:52 PM, Apr 23, 2008

In my view this organization doesn't have any real outfield prospects right now. Adam Jones was the best, but to me he was just the second coming of Mike Cameron. Not that that's a horrible thing at all, but I don't think he's going to be a superstar or even an All-Star any time soon. His swing is just too dang long.
I spent some of this spring in Peoria watching Balentien. I honestly don't think he'll ever hit for any kind of average. I've always thought the guys that hit .225 with 25 homers weren't really that great to have around (Richie).
I'd like to see him come up and be given a chance to replace Whiffer, but I don't have high hopes that he'll have much of an impact.

Posted by Patrick from Kent

4:55 PM, Apr 23, 2008

Any news on how Wilkerson is doing...I think he left the game due to his hammy? Wladdy on his way?

Posted by Chris from Bothell

4:56 PM, Apr 23, 2008

Retriever - LOL.

Poor guy. Stand-up fellow, tries hard, seemed to fit in with the big-league club, trying to learn from guys like Raul and Ichiro. Hope he heals up well and gets right back into it next season.

So if Wilkerson goes down for some reason, the backup is...?

Posted by scrapiron

5:09 PM, Apr 23, 2008

I don't know if Wlad is still quite ready. His average is a little low in Tacoma now. How about Jeremy Reed?

Posted by John

5:14 PM, Apr 23, 2008

I guess if you wanted to bolster the defense, Jeremy would be the way to go. His bat isn't much better than Whifferson.

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

5:44 PM, Apr 23, 2008

That's sad about Mike Morse ... and after having such hot hitting this spring. I too hope that he is able to resume his career. I wish him a speedy recovery.

Meanwhile, how is Wilkerson? What are we going to do about right field?

Posted by Miles

5:49 PM, Apr 23, 2008

To Stat Boys Dad: Nope, you have me confused with someone else.

I just look at Morse this way: At his best he'd be a .300+ hitter with no power. We already have that in Vidro and look at all the complaining. The M's lost Guillen from last year and need to replace that power. Maybe Sexson and Beltre pick up some of that slack, but where else would it come from? Certainly not Morse.

That's why I want to see Balentien get a shot. If he fails, we'll know in time to make another move without risking any other young talent.

We can try Frank Thomas, but my guess is that he's not coming here unless he's promised a fair shot, so all this talk about trying him for a few months and cutting him if it doesn't work seems unrealistic.

Posted by Nay Laren

5:58 PM, Apr 23, 2008

The moves which bloggers are suggesting are good ones and necessary to improve the M's offense and defense, however. Bavasi and McLaren seem to have no clue regarding these concerns. Bavasi clogs up the roster with players out of options, e.g., there were three - Morse, Jimerson, Baek - with no regard to abilities and functional needs. In effect the M's began the season handicapped with players who were too specialized to meet the needs of the team on offense and defense.

In going with a six man bullpen and holding onto the option-less Baek, the bullpen was down to five relievers, which probably manifested itself in two or three losses that did not need to happen. The pitching, however, seems to now be working itself out and giving great promise to the season. The real problems are offense and defense, as many have noted above, there are about five of nine hitters contributing to this team. And defense in right field has been a disaster - virtually non- existent. On the bench, there is effectively another DH - Norton, an effective utility player - Bloomquist, a catcher - Burke, and a non-entity - Cairo. So as everyone here says, this team needs desperately to be sorted out.

With the pitching going well as it now appears to be doing so, Baek is not a problem and for those who would prefer Dickey, he will be back as soon as Bavasi finds Baek a home elsewhere. A trade of Baek, who can be a descent number five starter as he was last year when he filled in due to injury. In fact, he has show promise, but his biggest problem has been injury and McLaren who often left him in too long last year costing him games which would have been winnable had McLaren gone to the pen earlier. So Baek is likely being shopped around to a team in need of a fair starter with potential. He is best packaged with Reed who also seems to have no place on this team or future with it, although Reed would be an improvement in right over Wilerson.

Right field has to be address, the experiment with Morse is over, perhaps he can recover and give it another go next year, poor guy. The best prospect is definitely Balentien who hit for nearly .300 average with power and clutch rbi production at Tacoma last year. His numbers were virtually equal to those of Adam Jones but I think he has more pop that Jones, his downside has be a tendency to strike out too much, but he seemed to have improved on this problem last year. When he recovers from his recent knee injury, he would seem to be the best fit for right and for improving this anemic offense. Until then the M's might turn to Reed who has a little more punch than Jimerson. To Bavasi and McLaren, lets make the move to fix right field with Reed and Balentien when he is recovered. Afterwards trade Reed and Baek for the best deal you can put together, such a possibility, however, might not manifest itself until the trading deadline nears.

The pressing problem is at DH and most here have made some very good suggestions such as bringing up Clement to DH and platooning him with Johjima. This move appears to be begging to be made, as Clement has shown excellent potential as a hitter and he can catch in winter ball, etc. if he needs more improvement. To make this move someone must go on assignment, there are really three candidates for this option - Burke, as a third catcher is not needed, Vidro who has no capacity as a position player and very little pop as a hitter, and third there is Cairo the secondary backup infielder to Bloomquist and he may be more necessary now that Morse is out for the season. Willie is too valuable because of his ability to play effectively so many positions, he is a near perfect sub. Norton is the pinch hitter, occasional 1B or corner outfielder. So it is Turbo, despite his clutch hit yesterday, who is best suited for assignment. DFA Vidro so as to activate Clement. With Clement Burke also becomes expendable,n but there remains need for a bench outfielder who can pinch run and help manufacture runs should McLaren have the inclination and intelligence to make the move. Therefore drop Burke, as painful as it is, to bring up Jimerson who can also spell Ichiro in center. In this construction you have a bench with flexibility which can make a difference if properly used.

All this talk is fine and many of you convincingly make your points to much the same thing I have suggested above and throughout the early season, but Bavasi and McLaren do not seem to have the tactical skill set necessary to manage little league much a MLB team. Instant improvement might come with a dfa of Bavasi and McLaren. How about Perlozzo or Mel as manager of this club?

Posted by shane/olympia

6:05 PM, Apr 23, 2008

the M's bench has been a joke and whacky

if the m's are going to win those late inning games they need certain things from the bench

bloomquist and his twin cairo

not norton
barry bonds or frank thomas
wild cards - piazza, sosa, preston wilson, reggie sanders, julio franco, clement

jimerson, kenny lofton, baletine

clutch hitting
bonds, thomas, lofton

i also forgot to put wilerson on here since he is a bench player

what if

kenny lofton, barry bonds, blommquist, burke/clement

so insted of seeing somthing like wilkerson kenji and bentacourt in the 9th you see

lofton clement and bonds and then lofton in rf bloomquist at ss and clement behind the plate

i have an imagination i know

Posted by Nay Laren

6:09 PM, Apr 23, 2008

Imagination is not a bad thing, it is about all we can do here on the blog. At least, we are thinking strategies and tactics necessary to win baseball games, something I am not sure McLaren, as field manager, and Bavasi, as general manager, seem to be capable of doing,

Posted by GetJimmy

6:14 PM, Apr 23, 2008


Posted by seatown fan

7:07 PM, Apr 23, 2008

i have to say damn, i really liked mike morse. but i watched him dive for a ball just before the one he injured himself on and thought to myself "he's going to get hurt doing that" and then "that's bad defense". he should have been paying attention to ichiro when learning to play outfield, we watched griffey jr. injure himself countless time doing exactly what morse did. he'll be back though and hopefully have learned his lesson.

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