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Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Mariners' Morales is heating up

SEATTLE -- Maybe it's the self-produced heat that has convinced Kendrys Morales he doesn't need batting gloves.
Morales has shoved a bumpy opening week behind him on his way to an 8-for-16 stretch over the past four games goming into Tuesday's game against the Astors. He has three doubles, a homer and five RBI in those four games. He started the season 1-for-12.
At times, Morales was wearing batting gloves. He's taken them off, saying it's warmer out, so they are no longer needed. It's an odd take considering he's progressed from Arizona to Oakland to Seattle.
Morales has been lauded for his approach. He doesn't give at-bats away, providing a mid-order hitter the Mariners have been missing for several seasons.
"Any at-bat they just count," Morales said through interpreter Jaime Navarro. "That's what my responsibility is."
Strongman Mike Morse has flipped. After a hot start, he's 2-for-12 with five strikeouts in his past three games coming into Tuesday.
Zunino is hot
A day after saying it's too early to be concerned about slow starts, Mariners manager Eric Wedge caught himself when talking about the hot start of Tacoma catcher Mike Zunino, saying it's too early to put much weight on the brisk beginning.
Zunino has video game numbers. He's hitting .500 and has a 1.901 OPS heading into Tuesday's game. He has 12 RBI in 16 at-bats.
"He's a good player," Wedge said. "All reports have been good. I can't really say more than that. We really gave him a lot of exposure this spring. It was good for him and good for us to see."
Wedge said things won't always be going this well for Zunino -- baseball just doesn't work that way.
"Some point in time, it will happen," Wedge said of a bump in the road. "Who knows when and where, but, when it does, he'll make the adjustment and keep moving. He's been pretty impressive here in his brief pro career, no doubt about it."
Lineup changes
The Mariners used their ninth lineup in nine games Tuesday. Third baseman Kyle Seager got a night off from the starting lineup with left-hander Erik Bedard on the mound for Houston.
"It's not 1975 anymore," Wedge said. "You're not going to have the same nine guys out there every day. Their not going to stay with the same team for 10 years. It just doesn't work that way."
Todd Dybas, The News Tribune

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