VIERA, Fla. — Michael Morse was scheduled to head over to the minor league side of camp on Wednesday and get six or eight at-bats but it turns out he did not end up making it over there. Morse will spend his second day, then, of mostly inactivity on Thursday as he sits out the Nationals - Yankees game and allows his right lat strain to continue to heal.
The Nationals still do not appear overly concerned about Morse’s strain, which he received a cortisone shot for on Saturday. Morse has maintained that he is not worried and he was well enough to serve as the Nationals’ DH in two games this week but throwing from more than 90 feet has caused him discomfort and Morse has yet to play in the outfield in a single game this spring.
“I saw him in the training room,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “He’s not worried about anything. He says he doesn’t feel that bad and he’s going to be waiting until he’s ready. He’s still got that thing in there so I’m not really worried about him.”
Still, there remains no firm timetable for when Morse could be expected to get back into the Nationals’ lineup or for when he could make his debut in the field. Asked Wednesday if the lack of playing time in left concerned him at all, Morse laughed off the suggestion noting that he’s not worried about his defense at all and directing everyone to check out his fielding record — which featured zero outfield errors in 100 games there before last year. He was charged with one error there in 2011.
– Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos stepped awkwardly on the first base bag during his second at-bat Tuesday and felt a shooting pain go through his right heel. Ramos had it checked out with an X-ray on Wednesday and spent a significant time icing the foot and getting treatment on the area.
Thursday morning, he wore a small brace around his heel but was in good spirits when asked about it and said he felt well enough to return to the Nationals’ lineup on Friday when the team traveled to Tampa to face the Yankees.
Johnson said Ramos would “probably not” be in the lineup but he echoed the catcher’s sentiments that he didn’t expect him to miss an extended period of time with the injury. Ramos planned to take batting practice on Thursday as scheduled.
– Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel is still dealing with some tightness in his left hamstring. Johnson said Wednesday he was still hopeful Ankiel could return to the lineup by Friday but the travel squad for that game had not been posted before the Nationals’ 1:05 p.m. game vs. the Yankees on Thursday.
With Morse and Ankiel both a little banged up, Johnson said it was a good time for him to get a look at some of the other players trying to make the Nationals’ 25-man roster.
“The fact is it gives me a chance to look at these other guys more,” Johnson said. “There’s always this other side to it. The more you get a chance to play a guy, usually the better he’ll play. We’ve got a lot of good guys in camp.”
The Nationals’ outfield on Thursday was Roger Bernadina in left, Jayson Werth in center and Bryce Harper in right field.
– Nationals pitchers Ross Detwiler, Brad Lidge and Craig Stammen are all expected to get some innings on the minor league side of camp soon as the Nationals try to balance getting so many pitchers stretched out and ready for the season with only a limited number of games and days.