The Washington Times - September 3, 2012, 02:49PM

Washington Nationals outfielder Michael Morse left Monday’s game after just 3 1/2 innings with what the Nationals are terming a sore right thumb.

This is a recurring issue for the slugger, who was pulled from the Nationals’ game against the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 13 with the same ailment. Morse missed the next day’s game but was back in the team’s lineup for the finale against the Giants.

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Nationals manager Davey Johnson said at the time that Morse’s thumb was a little swollen from getting jammed but Morse insisted he could play through it if necessary. It flares, occasionally, though, and Morse struck out in the second inning, an at-bat during which he may have been jammed.

It’s been a rough month for Morse’s right hand, even after he returned to the lineup following the thumb injury. Morse was hit with a pitch in the right hand in the first inning against the Phillies on Aug. 24 and missed the remainder of that series as he waited for the swelling to subside. His wrist, too, had been affected.

UPDATE: Johnson said Morse was reluctant to come out of the game but the manager heard late in the pre-game that he’d gotten treatment on the hand and that it was acting up. He made the decision then to pull Morse and allow him to rest, for fear of aggravating it further.

“I knew their pitcher was going to pound him in,” Johnson said of Jeff Samardzija. “And I didn’t want to aggravate it worse. He didn’t want to come out. I just said, ‘You’re coming out.’ I don’t need you aggravating.”

Morse will likely play on Tuesday and he seemed less than thrilled to have missed most of Monday’s game.

“I don’t know, I have no clue,” he said when asked if he was removed for precautionary reasons. “Whatever (Johnson) says… My hand feels fine. My hand feels good.”