- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer
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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Robinson Cano made a brief lobbying appeal on behalf of free agent Nelson Cruz during his get-acquainted news conference at the Seattle Mariners' camp Tuesday. But if the Mariners decide to refrain from further spending on a bat and go with what's in house, Cano will have to rely on kids and comebacks for offensive support.
One of the most intriguing players in Seattle's camp is Logan Morrison, who was once regarded as a potential batting champion before injuries and a lack of power sent his career narrative in the wrong direction. After Morrison slugged .375 and hit only six homers in 293 at-bats last season, the Miami Marlins sent him and his always-entertaining Twitter account to Seattle in a trade for hard-throwing reliever Carter Capps.
More than two months later, Morrison feels reinvigorated in Seattle's camp. The Mariners plan to use him primarily at DH and as the backup to Justin Smoak at first base. LoMo's knee problems are behind him, and he won't have to worry about playing the outfield, where he had some adventures in Miami.
"I'm excited," Morrison said. "I'm just looking forward to being healthy, and not having to worry that if I do this or that, it will hurt my knee. I haven't done one thing so far that's put stress on it that I couldn't manage."
The Mariners ranked 13th in the American League with a .306 on-base percentage last season, when Kyle Seager led the team with 68 walks. Morrison will bring the ability to work deep counts and get on base if he's right. But he's fallen off considerably since posting a .390 OBP as a rookie with the Marlins in 2010. And he needs to show that he can still drive the ball the way he did in 2011, when he hit 23 homers in 123 games.
Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon thinks the combination of a strong foundation and a new opportunity will bring out the best in Morrison. It will go a long way toward helping Seattle upgrade its offense if he's right.
"I think if Logan Morrison is healthy, he's gonna have a big year," McClendon said. "This guy was a big-time prospect. He knows what he's doing at the plate."