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Orioles, seeking a hitter, get claims on Willingham, Morse

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

The Orioles, struggling to stay alive in the American League wild-card race, could add another bat by the end of the week.

General manager Dan Duquette has been busy on the waiver wire, and sources told CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman that the O's were awarded the claim on both Josh Willingham and Michael Morse. The Orioles would seem to have a good chance at adding at least one of the two outfielders, either by working out a trade or simply by having the original team allowing the claim to go through without a deal.

The waivers on Willingham and Morse are revocable, so the original team can choose to hold onto the player if no deal is reached. In the case of Willingham, who has another year remaining on his contract (at $7 million), the Twins will almost certainly want something in return.

It's not clear how interested the Mariners are in retaining Morse, who is making $6.75 million this year and will be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Orioles have also had talks with the Diamondbacks about Jason Kubel, who was designated for assignment this week, giving them another possibility to add a hitter.

Scoring runs hasn't been the biggest problem for the Orioles, but they do have room for another hitter in the lineup, and adding a bat is probably more realistic at this point than improving their pitching.

The Orioles have lost nine of their past 14 games, going from 1½ games out of the second wild card to 4½ games out, with just 31 games remaining.

Willingham has had a disappointing year with the Twins, with just a .212 batting average and .729 OPS. Morse has missed time with injuries, and has underperformed with a .693 OPS.

But the Orioles have just 51 RBI out of their designated hitter spot, 14th of the 15 teams in the AL (the Yankees, with 50, rank 15th).

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