The Washington Times - September 12, 2012, 06:50PM

NEW YORK — An MRI on the left wrist of Washington Nationals outfielder Michael Morse revealed the source of the pain that’s been plaguing him for about a month. Morse has a bone bruise as well as a torn sheath in the wrist and will be out at least a few days while the Nationals hope rest and some anti-inflammatory medicine does the trick.

The plan right now is for Morse to rest a few days and attempt to take batting practice on Friday in Atlanta. Morse’s MRI was also sent to a specialist in Baltimore for a second opinion and a possible plan for treatment. X-rays on the hand and wrist came back negative. The sheath is essentially connective tissue that covers the joint and, in the most basic of terms, it’s been sprained. 

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“His left hand is his dominant hand in hitting and it’s been bothering him,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “He’s been trying to play through it … but I thought he had to be hurting the way he’s been swinging. Glad to find out about it. I wished he’d have said something earlier. Maybe we could’ve given him some time off and then he wouldn’t have had to struggle through this little batting slump.”

Morse initially dealt with a hand issue in San Francisco in the middle of August when he had some soreness in his right thumb. Two weeks later, he was hit with a pitch on the outside of his right wrist and somewhere in between, Morse said he may have tried to compensate by swinging more with his left hand — and subsequently hurt it.

“He got hit on his right hand and but his left hand is his dominant hand and he drags the bat through with a lot of force,” Johnson said. “He’s got tremendous power. But obviously his bat’s been slow. He’s had to cheat to catch up to balls.”

Morse is hitting .244 since the Nationals began their series with the Giants with just four extra-base hits (one double, one triple and two home runs). He was 0-for-5 against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Tuesday night.

The tests did give Morse some peace of mind.

“For sure,” he said. “Just have to get it better now.”

Morse missed the first two months of the season and most of spring training with a tear in his right lat muscle, a scary injury that could’ve cost him the season if surgery had been the route the Nationals medical staff felt was most prudent. In the 88 games he’s played this season, Morse has hit .285 with 13 homers and 15 doubles. 

He finally felt the absence of power was enough for him to speak up on Tuesday night, telling Johnson after the game that it was time he get his hand looked at. 

“I’m not helping the team when I’m not 100 percent,” Morse said Tuesday night. “I’m not helping myself, either. I’m going to get it looked at and get down to the bottom of it and try to get back to 100 percent. I’m not 100 percent.”

“It’s been a tough year,” he acknowledged on Wednesday. “I’m going to try to help the team as much as possible.”