Since the move, Morse has collected seven hits in three games.

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NEW YORK — Mariners slugger Michael Morse figures he may have been better off not having that torrid start to his season.

Morse hit five home runs the first week, added a sixth a few days later, but has just three since. His other numbers had also taken a tumble until the Mariners on Sunday pushed him back one spot in the order from cleanup to the No. 5 position.

Since the move, Morse has collected seven hits in three games — including two more singles on Wednesday in his team’s 12-2 win over the New York Yankees. Speaking before the game, Morse said the recent success has more to do with his laying off bad pitches than any recent shuffling of the batting order.

“I’ve got to stop swinging at balls in the dirt,” he said. “You don’t swing at the ball that’s on the ground rolling.”

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While not trying to draw walks, Morse says he has to be more willing to take them when hittable pitches just aren’t there.

“I try to be aggressive,” he said. “But at the same time, if I’m not getting the pitches, I’ll take the walk.”

And those good pitches will eventually come, he figures, if he isn’t always down two strikes because of bad swings.


• Dustin Ackley had a single and reached base three more times via walks Wednesday in his first start since last Saturday. Mariners manager Eric Wedge had wanted Ackley to clear his head and work on some things behind the scenes after finishing Saturday’s game in a 1-for-12 slump with a .231 batting average and .549 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

Ackley got a single Tuesday in a pinch-hit appearance, then reached base four times in this outing after hitting second in the order.

Wedge stacked the top of the order with three left-handed hitters against Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes. Michael Saunders, Ackley and Kyle Seager wound up a combined 5 for 11 with a homer, two doubles and five walks.

Felix Hernandez was feeling better on Wednesday after some early-morning back tightness, which had forced him from the game the night before. The Mariners say Hernandez will make his next scheduled start and won’t modify his throwing routine between outings.

Franklin Gutierrez ran the bases in Seattle on Wednesday and could head out on a Class AAA injury rehabilitation assignment on Thursday or Friday.

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or

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