Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MLB Notebook:

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MLB Notebook:

Article excerpt

Twins trade Morales back to Mariners

Kendrys Morales is on his way back to Seattle to try and give the Mariners' struggling offense a boost as they chase a playoff spot.

The Minnesota Twins traded Morales to the Mariners on Thursday for minor-league pitcher Stephen Pryor. Morales hit 23 home runs and drove in 80 runs for the Mariners last season, but turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer from Seattle to become a free agent.

"He's a professional hitter," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He gives us the opportunity to stretch out our lineup, so to speak. He's a nice fit, switch-hitter, hitting behind Robbie (Cano).

"He gives us options, what we want to do with (Kyle) Seager, where we want to hit him," McClendon said. "I like it."

Morales sat out the first two months of the season while searching for a new deal, signing a pro-rated $12 million contract with the Twins on June 8. But he hit .234 with 11 doubles, one homer and 18 RBIs in 39 games with the Twins, who have faded from contention in the AL Central.

Howard benched * Philadelphia slugger Ryan Howard, the former Lafayette High and Missouri State star, wasn't in the lineup for the second straight day Thursday as manager Ryne Sandberg has decided to look elsewhere to find production from first base. Howard has been in a power drought with just one homer since June 19 and his .224 average, .377 slugging percentage and .682 on-base plus slugging mark are well off his usual production.

The move was eye-opening considering the three-time All-Star and former MVP's dominance against San Francisco's Tim Hudson, against whom he has batted .328 with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 67 career at-bats.

Howard's replacement, Darin Ruf, went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

"I wanted to see (Ruf) play for a couple of games, get him some at-bats and basically go from there," Sandberg said. …

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