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While the Nationals are on the road, Morse plans to sit on a chair in the batting cages and track pitches as they go by.

When he began playing in rehab games April 5, Morse said he felt good and could identify pitches. While he didn’t feel 100 percent baseball ready, “I felt close to it.”

His setback was a surprise to all parties, including the coaches and front office staff.

Morse, who has the cleanup spot after hitting 31 home runs in 2011, conceded he might have tried to push himself too quickly this spring simply because he felt well enough to do so. He likened himself to a pitbull on a leash “just trying to get away,” with the Nationals holding the leash.

“Maybe I didn’t know how bad it was,” Morse said, lamenting that he went through with a cortisone shot early on in the process which really only masked the pain but didn’t speed the healing. “Maybe I should have really rested.

“Even if I feel good in four weeks, in three weeks, I really have to tell myself, ‘No.’ Even if I feel good, inside it still needs to heal.”

NOTE: Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will pitch in a simulated game Wednesday, facing hitters for the first time since he strained his left hamstring March 15. It’s the first of two sim games he’s scheduled to throw. If all goes well, the Nationals expect him to begin pitching in games and start a rehab assignment shortly thereafter.