SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Mike Morse is healthy again, and he thinks he’s ready to return to the form that made him one of the top hitters in the National League in 2011.
All it took was a little guidance from friends.
Morse agreed to a one-year contract with San Francisco in December and is expected to play left field. He said Monday he has no restrictions following surgery to shave a bone spur in his left wrist last October, a condition that was discovered in a visit to orthopedic surgeon Richard Berger at the Mayo Clinic.
Former teammate Jayson Werth, who had a wrist operation done by Berger, directed Morse to the Mayo Clinic. Mark DeRosa, another former teammate, directed Morse to the Giants.
The 31-year-old Morse played most of last year with the pain in his wrist, thinking it was just part of the routine bumps and bruises.
“I thought, ‘Well, this is it,’” he said. “It was just something I had to play with.”
He hit 11 home runs through May for the Seattle Mariners and then hit just two more the rest of the way, and none with the Baltimore Orioles, who acquired him in a deal at the end of August.
“DeRosa would like to touch my arm and say ‘Does it hurt here?’” Morse said. “Yeah, it hurts there. Then he’d walk away like it was pretty bad.”
Werth, who had his surgery with Berger in 2006, went on to help the Philadelphia Phillies win a World Series title two years later.
“He was really high on Dr. Berger,” Morse said. “My wrist hurt and no one could find anything wrong with it. I decided to go to the Mayo Clinic on my own dime.”
An MRI scan was inconclusive, and Berger decided the best course of action was exploratory surgery to find the problem. The bone spur was shaved off and Morse returned to swinging the bat about 10 days later.
“Dr. Berger is legit,” Morse said. “He’s the real thing.”
Now Morse is looking for the type of numbers he had in 2011 with Washington in his only full season, when he had 31 homers and 95 RBIs. If he can return to that form, he could provide a big boost for San Francisco’s power-starved lineup from a year ago.
Morse, who has a .281 career average, also has played shortstop and first base. With the Giants, he replaces speedy Gregor Blanco and will share the outfield with Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence.
“I’ll catch the routine balls,” Morse said. “I may not make the spectacular catch but we have Pagan in center. He can make those plays.”
When it came time to look at free-agent offers, Morse said DeRosa was a big reason he chose to play in San Francisco.
“He told me this was the place to play,” Morse said. “He thought highly of this place.”
DeRosa played with the Giants in 2010-11.
NOTES: Position players are scheduled to report Tuesday. ... Hard throwing LHP Edwin Escobar is expected to start the season at Triple A, after making 10 starts in Double A a year ago. “We want him starting for now,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s ahead of where he was last year at this time. He has a better look about him.” ... Bochy said there’s an emphasis on pitcher’s fielding drills earlier this year. It was a problem last season. “I don’t think we executed as well as we should have,” he said. “We’re spending more time on it and getting people focused.”