7/6/2013 12:46 A.M. ET
Miller excels in debut at leadoff spot
By Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Batting leadoff for the first time in just the seventh game of his Major League career, Brad Miller started Friday's game against the Reds by legging out a triple off starting pitcher Mike Leake. Four innings later, Miller tripled again, giving him the first two three-baggers of his career.
Many players would have been satisfied with doubles on each hit, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge left little to chance when he slotted Miller at the top of the order.
"That's the way he plays the game, whether it be at home plate, in the field or on the basepaths," Wedge said. "I love the way he comes out of the box. He's thinking not doubles; he's thinking triples out of the box."
For Miller, that was all part of the fun of playing baseball.
"I like that style," he said. "Hopefully stretching some singles into doubles and doubles into triples. I've just always been coached that way, and I like that, kind of going all out until they stop you."
After going a combined 0-for-8 in his first two games, Miller ended Friday batting 6-for-14 (.429) with a walk and two doubles to go with two triples in his last five appearances. He has also stolen two bases since being called up June 28, and he said that has been something he has to focus on during his brief big league tenure.
"All the games I've been in since I've been here have been close ballgames," said Miller, who has already played three extra-inning games. "So the ability to take an extra base or score on a hit is huge. You got to cash in runs any time you can. It's been fun. Obviously hitting and defense are some focal points, but baserunning is just as important."
Miller also said the transition from Triple-A to facing big league pitching had been a learning experience with a big jump in difficulty. But by being inserted into the leadoff spot Friday, he said he had a little bit of extra confidence going forward.
"Just to be in there and be at the top and hopefully set the table," Miller said. "It's exciting to get out there."
Displaying patience, Morse waits to test legs
CINCINNATI -- Michael Morse, who has been on the disabled list since June 22, was supposed to run the bases at Great American Ball Park before Friday's game against the Reds to test his strained right quadriceps. Wet conditions and a little soreness, manager Eric Wedge said, prevented that from happening, but Morse said he did not need any such tests to know he was ready to return to action.
"I feel like I could play right now," Morse said. "I think definitely when I was playing in Oakland, I shouldn't have been. So I compare that to now, and I'm like, 'I'm 100 percent.'"
Morse originally injured the quad in San Diego on May 28, missing eight games as a result. Regularly a right fielder, Morse played first base and filled in as a designated hitter for 10 games before aggravating the injury again during a pinch-hit appearance against the Angels on June 20.
Wedge said Morse's baserunning test was pushed back to Saturday. From there, Morse expects to go out on a rehab assignment in a couple of days and return to the Mariners either before the All-Star break or immediately after.
Knowing that originally playing through the injury did him no favors in recovering, he said he was willing to be patient this time around to ensure he was 100 percent healthy.
"I hope it's just that I'll get a little sore here and there," Morse said. "But I'm also hoping that the time I'm taking off right now to be on the DL is going to make it so I don't get soreness so I can just not worry about it."
• As expected, Michael Saunders was back in the starting lineup Friday playing right field and batting seventh a week after getting spiked in the middle finger while diving back to first on a pickoff throw.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.