Add Morse to the Orioles’ list of waiver claims

BOSTON - Executive vice president Dan Duquette is serious about adding a right-handed bat as the deadline approaches for teams to set their playoff rosters.

The Orioles made a waiver claim yesterday on Minnesota outfielder Josh Willingham, and they did the same today with Seattle first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse, according to an industry source.

Maybe it’s an ex-Nats thing. Or an injured slugger thing.

Morse has appeared in only 76 games since the Mariners acquired him from the Nationals in a three-team trade in January, batting .226/.283/.410 with 13 doubles, 13 homers and 27 RBIs. He missed five weeks with a quad injury.

The Orioles have 48 hours to make a deal or the Mariners can choose to keep Morse. The other alternative, of course, is they surrender him to the Orioles.

The cost of obtaining Morse in a trade figures to be lower than Willingham, given his rental status. Willingham is signed through 2014.

The Orioles had lukewarm interest in Morse, 31, during the winter meetings, in part because of his injury history and in part because of his pending free agency. The two sides talked in the days leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, but the Orioles were more focused on Astros pitcher Bud Norris.

Morse is a lifetime .284/.338/.479 hitter with 83 homers in nine seasons with the Mariners and Nationals. He had a career-high 31 homers, 95 RBIs and a .910 OPS with Washington in 2011, finishing 19th in Most Valuable Player voting in the National League.

Duquette is trying to upgrade the lineup for a club that’s lost five of its last eight games to fall 4 1/2 behind Oakland for the last wild card spot. first reported the Orioles waiver claim on Morse.

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