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Kendrys listed as day to day with back stiffness

Mariners first baseman exits game against Yankees in sixth inning

SEATTLE -- First baseman Kendrys Morales, the Mariners' leading hitter this season, was removed from Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Yankees in the sixth inning due to back stiffness.

"His back locked up on him," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's feeling better. They've been working on him and we'll just have to see how he feels tomorrow."

The Mariners said Morales was "day to day" at this point, with Alex Liddi taking his place at first base in the sixth inning. The 29-year-old switch-hitting Morales was 0-for-2 in his first two at-bats and seemed to run slowly to first base on a fourth-inning groundout to shortstop before being removed an inning later.

Morales is batting .298 with eight home runs and a team-leading 35 RBIs in 61 games. He played mostly designated hitter early in the season, but took over as the everyday first baseman when Justin Smoak strained his oblique muscle two weeks ago.

Smoak is on the disabled list and isn't eligible to return until June 14 at the earliest.

Morales was obtained in a trade with the Angels for left-hander Jason Vargas over the offseason and will be a free agent at the end of the year.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
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