SAN FRANCISCO -- New Giants left fielder Michael Morse is 31 years old and coming off a rough season, but he's playing on a one-year deal that should put him back on a market perennially devoid of power hitters. The time to cash in might be coming soon, which makes one wonder: Why did Morse choose one of the game's worst hitters' parks as the place where he'll try to return to form?
"I look at the bright side," Morse said, smiling. "To me, it's a ballpark -- just like every other ballpark. It plays the way it plays, and I don't think about stuff like that. If you hit the ball good, it's going to go out. If you don't hit it good, it's not going to go out.
"Plus, a big ballpark gives you a chance at getting a lot of hits. You can hit the gaps and run for days."
That's a plan that's worked well for two other imports in the starting outfield, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence. Of course, as physically imposing as both are, they'll look small standing next to Morse, listed at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds and nicknamed "The Beast." The stature and swing have Morse's teammates thinking he might be AT&T Park-proof.
Tim Lincecum recalled throwing a down-and-in fastball to Morse in 2011 when Morse was a Washington National. Morse golfed it halfway up the left-field bleachers.
"I was like, 'How did he hit that thing with that high leg kick,' " Lincecum said. "(The power) is scary in a sense. He's got that 'whipping' power."
Morse hit 13 out the park last season while playing for the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles and hit 31 for the Nationals in 2011. Manager Bruce Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean reiterated this week that Morse will be the everyday left fielder, and while Bochy won't reveal his lineup, it's likely that Morse will hit seventh if all the starters are healthy.
"That's a huge impact," Pence said. "Looking at the lineup with him in there, there's just a long line where the pitcher has to be focused and can't make a mistake because there's a lot of power potential. He's definitely a big bat, a big presence, and he does change the frame of this club in a big way."
What Morse won't do is change the vibe of the clubhouse. That's because he'll fit right in alongside such players as Pence, Lincecum, Brandon Belt and other players known for being loose and at times quirky.
Morse has an exaggerated warm-up swing that Jerry Seinfeld once described as "a kid pretending he's in (slow motion)." He has done interviews in "Hammer Time" shirts and wigs and uses 1985's "Take On Me" by A-ha as his walk-up song.
"I'm very loose and open-minded," Morse said. "I'm a guy that loves to have fun."
Said Pence, "He brings a lot of charisma."
For all that Morse can bring, he has had trouble staying on the field, playing more than 102 games just once. Morse had left wrist surgery after the 2013 season, during which he batted .215, but said he's 100 percent healthy heading into spring training. The rare free agent power hitter not worried by AT&T Park's dimensions and conditions, Morse was looking forward to his first spring in orange and black and then returning to AT&T Park, where he wants to embrace the gaps and alleys.
He conceded, though, that doubles and triples are not Plan A.
"I hope to just have to trot a lot," Morse said.
"He moved around very well," said Sabean, who tuned in for all but one of Sandoval's eight games. "By him taking it upon himself to go to Venezuela, a different culture and a different culture around food, especially around the holidays -- it's amazing he could (lose so much weight). That's a good sign."
Morse revealed that he works out with 49ers running back Frank Gore in the offseason, and it was also clear that he already has taken a few good-natured shots at new teammates.
"Yesterday Morse told me I run like Phoebe from 'Friends,' " Pence said.