The Washington Times - August 12, 2011, 03:31PM

PHILADELPHIA — As soon as Ryan Dempster’s fastball connected with Michael Morse’s left elbow Thursday afternoon, there was little chance the Nationals cleanup hitter and first baseman would be in the lineup this afternoon in Philadelphia — regardless of what the results of his X-rays were.

They were negative, by the way, and Morse is listed day-to-day with a contusion but chances are he’ll be out at least a few days. Barring the Nationals putting him on the disabled list sometime in the next few days, or making a roster move to jettison one of their eight pitchers and bring up an extra position player, they’ll go with a three-man bench until Morse is back healthy. 


For now, Jonny Gomes gets the job as the team’s cleanup hitter against lefty Cole Hamels and Brian Bixler gets his first career start at first base. That’s not to say Bixler’s experience at the position as a replacement is all that extensive either. He’s officially played one inning there in his career, earlier this season. Bixler is as versatile as they come and he’s not truly a liability anywhere but the Nationals lack of backup options — especially with the left-handed Laynce Nix being the top choice the Nationals facing a tough lefty — didn’t leave them with a plethora of routes.

Gomes is 1-for-8 in his career against Hamels, but the one is a home run.

Livan Hernandez will get the start for the Nationals.

Here are the lineups behind he and Hamels:


Rick Ankiel CF
Danny Espinosa 2B
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Jonny Gomes LF
Jayson Werth RF
Wilson Ramos C
Ian Desmond SS
Brian Bixler 1B
Livan Hernandez P 


Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Hunter Pence RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Carlos Ruiz C
Wilson Valdez 3B
Cole Hamels P