The Washington Times - September 19, 2012, 01:12AM

The Washington Nationals are going to have to do some wrangling to figure out who will start Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, a negative byproduct of their rainout on Tuesday evening.

But outside of figuring out their pitching schedule, there was plenty to be gained from a second straight day without a game for the Nationals — including an extra day of rest for second baseman Danny Espinosa and outfielder Michael Morse.


“It’s another day to heal,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. 

Espinosa, who woke up Monday morning thinking he’d probably torn the labrum or the rotator cuff in his left shoulder, was elated to learn he was only dealing with a bone bruise in the capsule of his shoulder and a cortisone shot had already begun to take effect on him by Tuesday afternoon.

Doctors could clear Espinosa to play on Wednesday, though it’s doubtful he’d find himself in both ends of the Nationals’ doubleheader so soon after an injury and a cortisone shot. But if he is cleared, it’s a fairly safe bet he’ll be in at least one game. Espinosa tried to convince Johnson to put him in the lineup on Tuesday, that’s how much better his left shoulder was feeling after Monday’s cortisone.

Morse, who hasn’t played since in a week because of a bone bruise and a torn sheath in his left wrist, hit in the batting cage before Tuesday’s game was postponed and his name was in the lineup Johnson posted before the rainout was made official.

“Mike was feeling pretty good,” Johnson said. “He was good to go. We were anxious to have him in the lineup. With all that’s been going on, I know he took swings on Sunday, didn’t hit balls. I think he hit a few balls today. I (didn’t) double checked with him but he (hadn’t) pulled himself out of the lineup.”

Morse seemed optimistic on Sunday that he’d be ready to play in Tuesday’s game but it goes without saying that it’s better to allow both players an extra day before returning to active duty.

The Nationals are unsure if either player will be able to reach 100 percent by the end of the season, but they think they’ll be able to get to where they can play and be effective.

“The doctors have said (Morse’s left hand) would not get any worse,” Johnson said. “If we can calm down the inflammation, he should be good to go. It’s kind of like anytime you have inflammation, if you can get rid of the inflammation, that’s usually what caused the discomfort and weakness. And hopefully it’s the same thing that was the same with Ryan Zimmerman when he got the shot. Be that way with Espi, too.”