MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Michael Morse was easily the Nationals’ hottest hitter throughout spring training. Even when he scuffled a little, he’d drop his average to something in the upper .300’s.
So a 2-for-17 skid to open the season wasn’t exactly what the Nationals were hoping for out of their left fielder. Morse was out of the Nationals lineup on Thursday night for the first time all season with Laynce Nix getting the start in left field in his place and Wilson Ramos slotting into the No. 5 spot in the lineup.
“I’m seeing the ball way too out in front right now,” Morse said. “I’m probably a little over anxious so I’ve just got to let the ball travel a little deeper and hit the ball the other way.”
Morse’s anxiety comes from the opportunity he’s worked for his entire career: the chance to be an every day player, he’s just got to work on tempering his excitement for the job.
“I wake up in the morning and I’m just so happy,” Morse said. “It’s more about that I’m so excited that I’m playing every day, getting to bat fifth in this lineup. Maybe I’m too excited so I just need to calm down and just be myself and just play.”
Morse, like Ian Desmond before him, is keeping things in perspective. Because it’s the start of the season, this skid is a little more noticeable than one in June. Desmond was 0-for-13 to start the season and went 3-for-4 Wednesday night.
“We all want to start off with a great start each and every one of us but I’ll start when we play the Mets.”
— Right-hander Henry Rodriguez, who was added to the Double-A Harrisburg roster this afternoon, will throw two innings tonight in his rehab from neck soreness. The Nationals have not put a timetable on his return to the big leauge roster. He has 30 days to be on this rehab assignment starting Thursday evening.
— Chien-Ming Wang is “continuing to progress” according to Mike Rizzo and the right-hander should be throwing in an extended spring training game sometime in the next week or so. He is currently throwing off a mound.