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Orioles trade for 'physical' Morse for stretch run

NEW YORK - Scott Feldman. Bud Norris. Francisco Rodriguez. And now Michael Morse.
In the last two months, the Baltimore Orioles have shown their seriousness about contending by adding Feldman, Norris and Rodriguez to the pitching staff. Friday's acquisition of Morse from the Seattle Mariners gives them a player who hit 31 home runs just two years ago for the Washington Nationals.
The price for Morse was outfielder Xavier Avery, who batted .223 in 32 games for Baltimore a year ago but was languishing at Norfolk, where he was hitting just .237.
Morse is 31, and this year was batting .227 with 13 home runs and 27 RBIs for the Mariners. He spent four years with the Nationals and batted .295 along with the 31 homers and 95 RBIs in 2011.
"He's a big physical man," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "He's got some pop in his bat. He likes the area having been here the last few years. We'll see if he can help us the last month of the season."
Morse was in Houston with Seattle when he learned of the trade. He will probably report for Saturday's game. Morse must be added to the roster by 11:59 p.m. Saturday night to be eligible for the postseason roster.
"He's a professional hitter," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's somebody we've thought about off and on. "He's been on the radar."
The Orioles put in waiver claims for both Morse and Minnesota outfielder Josh Willingham, but talks with the Twins never really got serious.
"It certainly doesn't hurt to get a proven major league run producer like Michael," Showalter said.
Morse will be the right-handed hitting designated hitter, though he can play first base and the corner outfield positions.
Adam Jones played with Morse in Seattle in 2006 and 2007. He likes the deal.
"It means we're not out of it. That's what it means. It means, look, forget all this, we're factors. We can close this gap. We can win. We can win this year, and I like that instead of them saying, 'give us a couple of years.' No. This is the year," Jones said.
Jones has been with the Orioles since 2008, and the team had losing records his first four years.
"I've been there when we were big time sellers, not even sellers because nobody wanted nobody from here. Now, we've got the opportunity to be buyers. It's not like we're going out and increasing the payroll by $25, $30 million. We're going out and getting guys that are very good pieces to teams, guys that can really help. I think Morse will come in and he'll be very impactful," Jones said.
Avery was Baltimore's second-round draft choice in 2008. He was called up for one game this season, but didn't play.
"It's a tribute to our scouting and player development that we developed a player to the point that we could get Michael back for him. It's a good spot for him. I'm happy for Xavier. He's really come on at the end and did well in Double-A this year. I'm sure they saw him good the last couple weeks. He fits them good," Showalter said.

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