Morse picking up power slack this spring

New first baseman hits two homers, now has four of Marlins' nine in Grapefruit League play

Morse picking up power slack this spring

JUPITER, Fla. -- The "other" big power bat in the Marlins' lineup is heating up. Michael Morse connected on two home runs on Monday in a 12-3 loss to the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium.

A free-agent pickup to offer protection for No. 3 hitter Giancarlo Stanton, Morse paces the team this spring with four home runs and 14 RBIs after his multi-homer performance in an otherwise rough day for Miami.

"Obviously, that's a really good sign to see him hit two balls like that," manager Mike Redmond said. "Not just for home runs, but to see him square some balls up."

Hitting cleanup, Morse went 3-for-3, boosting his Grapefruit League slash line to .379/.471/.828.

"For me, I'm kind of taking the ball where it's pitched, and using the whole field," Morse said.

In the first inning, Morse belted a two-run shot to right-center off right-hander Jacob deGrom. Morse also homered to center off Buddy Carlyle in the sixth inning.

"I tried to stay short, especially off deGrom," the Miami first baseman said. "He was throwing the ball hard. I was trying to stay short, and that was it. I'm trying to stay back as much on offspeed. Overall, they gave me good pitches to hit."

Morse's two-run shot

Collectively, the Marlins have belted the second-fewest number of home runs this spring; they have hit nine in 19 Grapefruit League games. Stanton, the reigning National League home run champion with 37, has just one this spring. Morse has 14 RBIs, which leads the Grapefruit League and is twice as many as Stanton.

Morse, who won a World Series last season in San Francisco, is one of three newcomers to Miami's everyday lineup. He was signed to play first base and add another serious power threat. Second baseman Dee Gordon and third baseman Martin Prado are the other new additions.

"As a team, we're still jelling together," Morse said. "One positive note is, regardless of the score, guys went up there and still had quality at-bats. Sometimes we're going to have games like this. Our team doesn't let down."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.