PEORIA, Ariz. — Logan Morrison may not ever be able to escape the shadow of the Twitter persona he's created. Consider it the cost of being engaging and sometimes polarizing on social media.
What he is hoping for now, with him getting a new start in Seattle and with his knee fully healthy, is a return to his 2011 form when his performance on the field was getting just as much attention as the tweets he was sending.
"I would say if the spotlight is on us, that means we're doing well. And if we're doing well, then I enjoy that, yes," Morrison said. "Do I go and search for it? No. I just am who I am. I was a military kid, so I was raised in different cities, so I had to be outgoing and know people. I think that's just kind of how it's been."
Morrison is one of the important new faces in Mariners camp and one that Seattle needs as a major contributor. He was acquired in December from Miami in exchange for reliever Carter Capps. Seattle's not yet entirely sure where to use Morrison.
If his knee is fully healthy, he can play left field, the position he spent the most time at during his tenure with the Marlins. Thus far in camp, he's been strictly a first baseman, with manager Lloyd McClendon not wanting to put too much strain on his legs early by having him take reps at both infield and outfield positions.
Seattle is being protective with Morrison's knee for now.
"Going and playing against the best is hard enough. Then when you're playing guarded, you're playing like, 'I can't do this or I can't do that,' it limits yourself, that's all it does," Morrison said. "It's not fun. The only thing fun about it is you get to compete against the best. But there's a lot of frustration and a lot of self-talking that you're better than this, what are you doing? Tough stuff.
"I'm sure there'll still be more of that this year. It's just that now it won't be because of my knee; it will be because I'm a mental midget."
Before the knee problems started, Morrison was a rising young star during the 2011 season with the Marlins. Only 23 at the time, Morrison played in 123 games, hit 23 homers and drove in 72 runs. For a team that finished last in the NL East with just 72 wins, Morrison was one of the few reasons for the Marlins to be excited about their future.
But his Twitter antics always got the attention. The comments coming through his Twitter handle were sometimes rude, sometimes childish. He drew the ire of Mariners fans in December 2011, tweeting how he "Just heard from my boy that Prince to Seattle is a done deal" at a time the Mariners were pursuing Prince Fielder. Morrison's tweet was in reference to the musician Prince having performed in the Seattle area earlier that week.
Since the trade, Morrison has been somewhat reserved, aside from changing his handle to @CupOfLoMo. He said the diminished activity is partly due to a new boxer pup he has at home.
McClendon has made it clear he doesn't mind any of his players being active on social media as long as it doesn't become an issue he has to deal with.
"I agree. He doesn't need to deal with that stuff," Morrison said. "He's got enough to worry about managing 25 egos and trying to get guys playing time that want it and all that stuff. I don't blame him."
When Seattle made the trade in December, the assumption was that Morrison would be mostly an outfielder who did spot duty at first base. Because of his knee problems, when Morrison finally rejoined the Marlins last season he was exclusively a first baseman and Seattle is trending in that direction for now.
Morrison said it was awkward last season learning to play the position on the fly and he's still regularly doing drills with infield coach Chris Woodward.
That doesn't mean Morrison is giving up on the outfield. For now his time out there consists of tracking the flight of fly balls during batting practice. Eventually McClendon plans to get him into drills and a few spring training games in the outfield.
"I think it's just a matter of health with (Morrison). When he's healthy he can do some damage," McClendon said. "My job is to do everything we possibly can to keep him healthy. Right now moving him back and forth in the early spring is something I don't want to do."