Michael Morse, one of the most popular players in the Giants’ clubhouse, one of the most popular players in our hearts, is back on the 25-man roster. The Giants recalled the outfielder/first baseman, and he will roam the vast outfield prairies of AT&T Park once again. He will replace Denard Span, who was placed on the 10-day DL, retroactive to April 23.
Morse will be joined by old friend Kelby Tomlinson, recalled from Sacramento to replace Brandon Crawford, who was placed on the 3-day bereavement list. However, while the Giants are hoping Crawford can come back on Saturday, note that he came out of Tuesday’s game with a groin strain. Tomlinson’s stay might be a little longer than originally planned.
The big story is Morse, of course. Let’s play a drinking game where you see how long I can go without inserting a video of Morse hitting a home run in the 2014 NLCS and guess what you lost:
Things that you should notice about that clip:
- Morse hits the baseball hard enough to make it travel over the fence, which is an automatic run according to MLB Official Rule Rule 5.05(a)(5).
- This run came in the eighth inning of a ballgame in which the Giants were trailing. As such, this allowed them to continue playing after nine innings and eventually “win” the game.
These are important qualities the Giants have been searching for, and Morse has shown an ability to contribute. He has power, he plays left field, and the Giants have been looking for someone with power to play left field. While I’m still on Team Mac and have been since February, I’m not going to pretend to be anything but giddy about Morse in a Giants uniform again. At the very least, Hunter Pence will have his buddy back.
No, that’s wrong. We’ll all have our buddy back.
As to how Morse will produce, well, that’s a little trickier. He was 0-for-8 last season before injuries sucked him under, and his last good season was ... 2014. Just like the Giants! ZiPS says Morse is good for a .245/.311/.412 line (park neutral), which works out to 0.6 WAR once his defense is accounted for. More notable, though is that the system gives him a 10.7-percent chance of slugging better than .450, which is just about the best on the Giants, sadly.
Span is the second Giants outfielder to get hurt colliding with an outfield fence, so now I feel bad about yelling at Gorkys Hernandez when he alligator-armed that ball last week. Span hasn’t played for three games, so he will likely be added to the 10-day DL retroactively and be eligible to come back in a week.
The story about Crawford’s sister-in-law is haunting and awful, and I wish for the best for his friends and family. I’m not sure how to write about a couple of pointless roster moves without acknowledging that every story about a young person dying unexpectedly makes me seize up.
Crawford will miss three games, and there was originally a question about if he would go on the bereavement list at all, or if the Giants would play short-handed for two games. His groin injury made the decision a whole lot easier, and Tomlinson was the logical choice to replace him. The 26-year-old utility infielder is a career .299/.362/.377 hitter in the majors, which is pretty danged good, although he was off to a rough .220/.313/.254 start in 67 Triple-A plate appearances.
The starting shortstop, at least for the next three games, will be Eduardo Nuñez, and I would expect Morse to start against left-handers, at least. While he’s not starting tonight against Alex Wood, Julio Urias is starting on Thursday, which probably means a start for the loveable lug.
Sorry, I’m getting unprofessional. What I meant to type was “super loveable lug,” and maybe use one of those sparkly font generators. The Giants have one of their dearest old friends back, and wackier ideas have worked. If you wanted dingers, here are some. And they’re wrapped up with a familiar, fuzzy bow.