VIERA, Fla. — Tuesday afternoon, Michael Morse’s name was on the lineup card for Wednesday’s trip to Orlando to face the Braves. By Tuesday evening, though, it’d been covered over with whiteout. Chad Tracy’s name slotted in its place.
As Morse recovers from a right lat strain that has caused him discomfort this week when attempting to throw from further than 90 feet, he’s been serving as the Nationals’ designated hitter. But Morse decided that Wednesday he’d prefer to go to the minor league side of the Nationals’ complex and get 6-8 at-bats in the minor leaguers’ final intra-squad game of the spring.
Jayson Werth and Danny Espinosa were also scheduled to join him. There, the players can hit every inning or every half inning, as Adam LaRoche did last week when he was recovering from a left ankle sprain. They can see a high number of pitches and work on their timing without worrying about the rest of the game.
For Morse, the strain has hindered him from playing the outfield at all this spring and that raised the question of whether it could be come a concern that he hasn’t been able to get out there, given that he spent the majority of his time at first base in 2011. Morse played just 55 games in left last year.
Not to worry, Morse said and directed everyone to his stat line before the 2011 season: 100 games in the outfield, not a single error.
Morse has spent the same amount of time he always has shagging balls in the outfield during batting practice, tracking balls off the bat and working with third base coach Bo Porter on his outfield work. He just can’t zip the ball back in just yet.
“I feel good,” Morse said. “My defense is fine. I just want to get more reps hitting.”