PITTSBURGH -- The last time Michael Morse was in Pittsburgh, in late May with the Marlins, it was only a one-day pit stop on his way to the disabled list. He would miss six weeks with a strained ring finger. The weight of the World Series ring he earned last season with the Giants had nothing to do with the injury, but it has everything to do with what Morse hopes to bring to the Bucs.
He and Travis Ishikawa, both, for that matter. The right-handed-hitting Morse and the left-handed Ishikawa shared 50 starts at first base for San Francisco while Brandon Belt recovered from a fractured left thumb. That platoon has now been revived in Pittsburgh.
Morse started at first base in the seven-hole against Cubs lefty Jon Lester on Monday night at PNC Park, but rain postponed the game after the fourth inning. Morse would have had a double in his first at-bat with the Pirates, which he stroked off Rafael Soriano in the third, but the weather washed that away as well.
"Me and Travis got to go the whole way with the Giants, and there's little things we could talk to [the other Buccos players] about, help them with," Morse said. "Try to get the tension away. ... The Giants are so good in the postseason because they treat playoff games like it was a game on May 5. It makes everyone relaxed. That's one of the things I hope to bring here."
Another thing would be some power. The last nine seasons, the Pirates have gotten an average of four homers per season from right-handed-hitting first basemen; the only two in the first four months of this season have been by Sean Rodriguez and Corey Hart.
Morse has a lot more in him. He had 49 homers for the 2011-12 Nationals, and poked 16 for the Giants last season. He was having a definite down time in Miami, with only four homers and 12 RBIs in 160 at-bats, but now regards that as a positive in one sense.
"I don't make excuses. I didn't play the way I wish I would've -- but it got me here," Morse said. "For the Pirates to want me, it makes me feel I'm doing something right. I know I'm going to play better. I know I'm going to give this team everything I've got.
"This team has been fun to watch from the other side. It'll be even better to be a part of it. This opportunity to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates ... dreams can come true."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.