6/2/2013 1:43 P.M. ET
Morse expected to return to lineup soon
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right fielder Michael Morse missed his fifth straight game on Sunday with a strained quadriceps, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge hopes to have his leading home run hitter back in the lineup in the next few days.
"I'm hoping to get him at first base sometime early to midweek here," Wedge said prior to Sunday's series finale with the Twins. "We'll start out there first and then get him back to the outfield. He'll hit today and we'll see how that works out and have him move around a little more and see how the leg feels."
With first baseman Justin Smoak going on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique injury, the Mariners can use Morse to split time with Kendrys Morales at first.
Morales started the last seven games at first before moving back to designated hitter on Sunday as Alex Liddi got the start at first. The Mariners have been cautious with Morales in the field after he missed all of 2011 with a fractured lower left leg, but he's held up well this past week.
"We'll DH him today to get him off his feet a little bit," Wedge said. "But I think he's done a nice job over there. From being very sporadic to every day, I think we've got to pull him back every now and then."
Smoak placed on 15-day DL with oblique injury
MINNEAPOLIS -- First baseman Justin Smoak was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday as the Mariners created a spot on their 25-man Major League roster for right-hander Jeremy Bonderman.
Bonderman was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma and will be the starting pitcher in Sunday's series finale with the Twins, making his first Major League appearance since Oct. 1, 2010 with the Tigers.
Infielder Vinnie Catricala was designated for assignment to make room for Bonderman on the 40-man roster. Catricala, 24, was hitting .253 with three home runs and 21 RBIs in 48 games with Double-A Jackson.
Smoak has been out a week since feeling tightness in the oblique muscle in his right side on May 25 against the Rangers. He did pinch-hit on Wednesday against the Padres, so his DL stint will be retroactive to that date and will leave him sidelined until June 14.
Smoak had hoped to return in the next few days, but said the injury hasn't improved on the road trip and the decision was made to give it more time.
"The first couple days were encouraging, thinking it wasn't going to be that long, but then it's just stayed the same," he said. "Left-handed, I just haven't been able to do very much. I don't want to go out there and be a right-handed hitter and a righty comes out on the mound and they have to take me out or have me go up there as a righty. So it's just one of those things where it is what it is. I'll get better and be back soon."
Smoak missed nearly a month with a similar injury in 2009 when with the Rangers' Double-A team and is trying to avoid that long of an absence.
"I'd rather be out a little over a week or whatever than a month," he said. "We've got a lot of season left. I'd rather miss a little time than a lot."
Bay tapping into power in Mariners lineup
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jason Bay hit eight home runs in all of 2012 with the Mets, a number he matched Saturday with the Mariners when he whacked his seventh and eighth bombs of the season.
Bay is making the most of his comeback opportunity in Seattle, having hit four home runs in his last five games, while raising his batting average to .239 going into Sunday's series finale with the Twins.
"Unfortunately we couldn't get the win out of it," Bay said. "But yeah, I'm just taking advantage of the playing time and just keep swinging."
Bay, 34, continues splitting time in left field in a platoon situation and has 117 at-bats in 41 games. But after hitting just .165 last year for the Mets, he's rediscovered both his stroke and his enjoyment for the game.
"The last few years there's been a lot of trying to find what it is I want to work on," Bay said. "Now I feel like we've narrowed that down and it's kind of honing that and getting a chance to apply it in games. Obviously, the home runs are nice outcomes to see that it's working. But I think it's just the product of doing things the right way."
Bay hit just 26 home runs in three seasons with the Mets after averaging 29 homers a year from 2004-09 with the Pirates and Red Sox.
"The power is always there. I don't think that's ever been an issue," he said. "I've done it before. Just somewhere along the way I got off track as far as the process as far as the swing, paralysis by analysis, where you try to do more or work on this or that. This is a game where it's hard to try easier, if that makes sense. You want to try to do more and the game doesn't really reward that. The power has always been there and now it's just a matter of getting out of my own way."
• Closer Tom Wilhelmsen was given the day off Sunday after blowing the save in Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Twins, but manager Eric Wedge said that was only because he'd been used three of the last four games.
"We'll give him a day today," said Wedge. "But he'll be back out there tomorrow. He put a lot of energy into that game yesterday. This is a good day to give him off."
• Minor League outfielder Francisco Martinez was traded to the Tigers on Sunday for a player to be named or cash. Martinez, 22, hit .206 with five RBIs in 34 games for Double-A Jackson. He was originally acquired from the Tigers on July 30, 2011 as part of the Doug Fister trade, but was designated for assignment on May 27 when the Mariners added Nick Franklin to their 40-man roster.