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Morse's defensive versatility a boon for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Michael Morse was signed as a free agent last December with the hope he'd add the power that had been lacking in the Giants' lineup. Thus far, Morse has done that, entering Wednesday hitting .285 and leading the team in homers (10) and RBIs (34). Perhaps surprisingly, he's provided manager Bruce Bochy with valuable flexibility defensively, too.

When first baseman Brandon Belt was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken thumb May 10, it appeared Bochy would be limited in his lineup choices for the six to eight weeks Belt was expected to miss.

Morse's steady play in 12 starts at first base has helped alleviate such concerns.

Bochy lauded Morse's errorless performance thus far at first base, which Bochy said is a deceptively difficult position to play.

"It's not that easy," Bochy said. "You're a lot closer to the action, you have a lot more responsibility, you have to know the bunt plays, how far to break on a ball to your right. ... I think he's getting better and I think he's done a good job."

Morse has done a satisfactory job in the outfield, too, which has allowed Bochy to also comfortably play Buster Posey at first with Belt unavailable, sparing the star catcher some wear and tear -- as was the case Wednesday with Posey playing first and Morse getting the day off.

Morse joked he finds himself feeling lonely when he plays the outfield with no one around to talk to, but he's embraced and enjoyed the challenge of not knowing where he'll be playing when he arrives at the park each day.

"Every day is a new day, a different position; it keeps me in the game," Morse said. "I've got to be focused at first base; I've got to know what's going on in the infield. The same time the next day, I've got to know what's going on in the outfield.

"It's fun and I'm glad they think I can do it."

So which does he prefer?

"Shortstop," Morse, who was drafted at that position by the Mariners in 2000, quipped with a smile. "I'll be behind him [Brandon Crawford] whenever he needs a break."

Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for Alex Espinoza is a contributor to
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