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Grant Cohn: Giants' Mike Morse, power and puzzle

  • Mike Morse's offensive production with the Nationals in 2011 was among the best in baseball. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Former Giant Mark DeRosa pressed his thumb into the back of current Giant Mike Morse's left wrist and Morse almost levitated.

DeRosa was a Giant in 2010 and 2011. He hit just one home run during that time because he had an injured wrist no one could fix. Morse became a Giant this offseason. He hit .215 last season in 88 games with the Mariners and Orioles because he had an injured wrist no one could fix. Some trainers didn't believe his wrist actually was injured.

DeRosa and Morse played together on the Nationals in 2012, so that's how they know each other. This offseason, Morse couldn't even bend his wrist. “I couldn't do a pushup,” Morse told me in the Giants' spring training clubhouse Wednesday morning.

“I talked to D-Ro about it,” Morse said. D-Ro is DeRosa. “I knew he had a messed-up wrist for a while. I asked him where it hurt. I remember he touched my wrist in the spot where his wrist had hurt, and I went, 'Ahhhh!' It was tender. Luckily for me, it wasn't that severe.”

Luckily for the Giants, Morse knew DeRosa and DeRosa knew which spot to press. He pressed on a bone spur. Morse had surgery to remove it last October.

It's hard to imagine Morse shrieking or levitating in pain. He is huge, a Giant, the most Giant of the Giants. He looks like a tight end. He looks like Brandon Crawford's older brother. You don't have to know anything about baseball to understand why the Giants signed Morse. You can see he is built to crush baseballs. He is supposed to be the first power-hitting left fielder the Giants have had since Barry Bonds retired.

Morse has a powerful track record. In 2011, he hit .303 and slugged 31 home runs. He was the 35th-best hitter in baseball according to “advanced stats.” And according to those same advanced stats, only one Giant was a better hitter than Morse in 2011 – Pablo Sandoval.

2011 was Morse's only dominant season. Since then, he hasn't stayed healthy. In 2012, he played just 102 games, and in 2013 he played even fewer – 88.

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