Morse likely to return to lineup Thursday

Morse likely to return to lineup Thursday

SEATTLE -- Michael Morse was out of the Mariners lineup for a sixth straight day Wednesday with a strained right quadriceps muscle, but the big right fielder is expected to return for Thursday's series opener with the Yankees, manager Eric Wedge said.

Morse shares the Mariners' home-run lead (11) with Raul Ibanez and has hit .254 with 21 RBIs in 45 games. Wedge is eager to get his bat back in the lineup, but he wants to make sure Morse is up to speed and will use him initially at either designated hitter or first base.

"He's champing at the bit," said Wedge, who indicated Morse might be available to pinch-hit during Wednesday's game. "He was hitting me up during the game last night. He wanted to hit."

As for where he'll play Thursday?

"I'm debating that right now, whether DH or first base," Wedge said. "It's most definitely not going to be the outfield. We'll see how today goes and then decide."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.