The Mariners could be without one of the AL’s hottest hitters for a week after Michael Morse suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right pinkie finger during Thursday’s game against the Rangers.
Morse, who is batting .293 with six homers, was hit on the hand by a Tanner Scheppers pitch in the eighth inning, but it was ruled a swinging strike. He stayed in initially and, incredibly enough, was hit in the shoulder by Scheppers’ next pitch.
While Morse is hoping to play again as soon as Sunday, the Mariners will likely hold him out longer. It’s an injury he can play through without much risk of making it worse, but the pain will make it tough for him to grip a bat normally.
Morse’s injury comes just a day after the Mariners lost Michael Saunders to a sprained right shoulder. While Saunders was placed on the DL, Morse is expected to avoid the assignment. The Mariners will go with some combination of Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez and Endy Chavez in the corners until Morse is ready to return.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.