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Giants plan to include Morse on NLCS roster

Barring any setbacks this week, club hopes to add power bat to lineup vs. Cards

SAN FRANCISCO -- It looks like the Giants will be getting one of their most powerful bats back for their upcoming National League Championship Series against the Cardinals, which begins on Saturday at 5 p.m. PT on FOX.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday that Michael Morse was in Arizona, taking batting practice against live pitching. The plan is for Morse to start in left field in an instructional league game on Thursday, and then meet the team in St. Louis on Friday. Barring any unexpected setbacks, Morse will be on the 25-man roster for the NLCS.

Given the Cardinals' all-right-handed starting rotation, Bochy was asked about Travis Ishikawa remaining the starter in left field.

"Morse will come into play ... we've got a decision with Morse," Bochy said.

Morse has been out of the starting lineup since Aug. 31 with a strained oblique. His last game action came on Sept. 19 in San Diego, where he entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning and struck out in both of his at-bats. He hit .279/.336/.475 with 16 home runs and 61 RBIs in 438 at-bats this season.

Like Ishikawa, Morse was much more effective against righties, whom he hit .293 against, markedly better than his .248 average against lefties. Ishikawa hit .260 with three home runs and 16 RBIs against righties, compared to a .182 average with no home runs and two RBIs against lefties.

After homering like a Home Run Derby candidate for the first two months of the season, Morse's power disappeared, which coincided with the beginning of the Giants' two-month summer skid. He hit just three home runs in his last 71 regular-season games (240 at-bats), but his long ball capability would be a welcome addition to an offense that scored nine runs in four NL Division Series games against the Nationals.

Bochy said he did not anticipate making any other changes to the 25-man roster the Giants carried in the NLDS.

Reserve outfielders Gary Brown and Juan Perez seem to be the most likely candidates to be removed from the 25-man roster to make room for Morse.

Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for
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