HOUSTON – A second Mariners tour that began with a bang for Michael Morse has ended with a whimper after he was traded Friday to the Baltimore Orioles.
The Mariners received Xavier Avery, 23, a speedy, light-hitting outfielder who was batting .237 in Class AAA. Morse wasn’t expected to garner much via trade, given how he no longer fit into the Mariners’ plans and still is owed $1.1 million — which the Orioles assumed.
Baltimore claimed Morse on revocable waivers earlier in the week and the sides had 48 hours to work out a deal. After hitting six home runs the first nine games of the season, Morse had just seven more while his other numbers deteriorated.
“I think injuries were the biggest part of it,’’ Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He got off to a good start the first couple of weeks, then it was just injury after injury. Whether it be the hand, or the leg, it took quite a while.
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“He struggled to get on track after that. He just wasn’t able to contribute like we hoped he would.’’
Henry Blanco celebrated his 42nd birthday Thursday, then Friday teamed with pitcher Taijuan Walker to make a bit of history. The duo formed the biggest age gap between an older catcher and younger pitcher since Carlton Fisk and Alex Fernandez teamed together with the White Sox in 1993 with an age gap of 21 years, 231 days.
Blanco and Walker, who turned 21 a few weeks ago, have a gap of 20 years, 350 days.
The biggest age gap in a pitcher-catcher battery, regardless of which one was older, came last year when Jamie Moyer and catcher Wilin Rosario had a difference of 27 years, 98 days.
• Abraham Almonte was called up from Class AAA before the game to fill one of the outfield spots vacated when Morse was traded. Almonte, starting in right field, drove in a pair of runs, one of them with his first big-league hit — a single in the eighth inning. He’d collected the earlier RBI when he hustled up the line to beat out a double play. Former minor-league teammate Nick Franklin said before the game that Almonte is surprisingly quick out of the batter’s box and could surprise opponents with an infield single. “He’s going to beat out a ground ball, that’s for sure,’’ Franklin said. “So, that’s something to look forward to.’’
• Brad Miller led the game off with a single, making it 11 consecutive games in which he has reached base.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @gbakermariners