- The Washington Times - Friday, October 3, 2014

There will be no nostalgic “Take On Me” singalongs at Nationals Park during the NL Division Series against the Giants.

San Francisco slugger Michael Morse, one of the most popular Nationals during his time in D.C., did not make his team’s 25-man roster for the first round of the playoffs.

Morse has played in only one game since Aug. 31 after suffering a strained oblique, and though manager Bruce Bochy said Friday that Morse was “close” to being ready, the team opted not to push him. In Morse’s absence, the Giants kept rookie outfielder Gary Brown, a September call-up with seven career big-league plate appearances who turned 26 on Sunday.

“Is he 100 percent? No,” said Bochy. “So, taking that into play along with he hasn’t faced live pitching in about a month, we just decided to go with Brown. He would give us a few more options vs. the one pinch-hit appearance, maybe, by Morse. Not having seen pitching, we just didn’t think he was quite ready.”

Bochy said the Giants might send Morse to Arizona to get some at-bats and play the outfield in the instructional league so he’s up to speed should San Francisco advance to the NLCS.

Morse played for the Nationals from 2009-12 and became a fan favorite whose walk-up music, A-ha’s ‘80s hit “Take On Me,” was shouted out by thousands during his at-bats.

SEE ALSO: Ross Detwiler left off Nationals roster for NLDS

He struggled mightily after moving to Seattle last season and hit just .103 in 12 games for the Orioles after being acquired by Baltimore for the stretch run. But he rebounded this year with San Francisco, starting in left field much of the season and pounding out 13 home runs in his first 59 games. His power tapered off in mid-summer but he remained a lineup fixture for Bochy through the end of August — eventually starting five games at first base rather than in left.

• Marc Lancaster can be reached at mlancaster@washingtontimes.com.

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