PHILADELPHIA — The Washington Nationals dodged a figurative bullet Friday night when X-rays on the right hand of Nationals outfielder Michael Morse came back negative. Morse, who was hit with an 84-mph changeup from Kyle Kendrick in the first inning on the Nationals’ 4-2 loss, is expected to miss a few days with a bad bruise.
“The good news is it’s not broken,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “Hopefully he’ll be all right in a few short days.”
Johnson, like most who saw Morse’s reaction after being hit, feared the worst. Morse missed the first two months of the season with a torn right lat muscle and losing him now for any extended period could be detrimental to a Nationals offense that only just begun to click on all cylinders.
Morse knelt to the ground to the left of the batters box at Citizens Bank Park and his hand appeared to be shaking uncontrollably as the Nationals’ trainers attended to him and tried to get his batting glove off. He was immediately removed and taken for X-rays.
“Anytime somebody gets hit somewhere that’s not the legs and they go down to the ground, obviously you’re thinking the worst,” said shortstop Ian Desmond, who was scratched from the game himself with a hamstring injury. “But luckily it got him in the hand and no break or nothing like that, so we caught a break right there.”
Morse’s hand was fairly swollen and he said it got him on the outside on the bottom knuckle. He had not yet tried to grip a bat but it was doubtful he’d play Saturday at the very least.
“Any time you get hit in the hands it’s kind of nerve-wracking,” Morse said. “But, you know, X-rays came out negative and stuff so I should be all right.”