- - Thursday, June 14, 2018

NEW YORK - Michael Morse was at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, but he was not on hand as a possible pinch-hitter for the Nationals or a scout for a major league team.

Morse, one of the most popular former Nationals, was preparing for a new gig this coming weekend as Washington plays Friday to Sunday in Toronto against the Blue Jays in a three-game series. Morse said he will fill in this weekend on MASN broadcasts for F.P. Santangelo while the regular color analyst attends his son’s graduation in California

Morse, 36, played for the Nationals from 2009 to 2012 and hit a career-high 31 homers in 2011. Morse last played in the majors in 24 games with the Giants in 2017 and he hit .194. Morse has not ruled out playing again.

“I hate to say I am done. But this is a good transition. I like being around the game,” Morse told The Washington Times on Wednesday. “You can only golf so much. So far I am having fun (with announcing).”

He was a studio fill-in for Ray Knight of MASN a few weeks ago and is now ready for his second gig with the regional network.

Morse lives in his native Florida with his wife and their daughter, 3, and son, five months.

The former right-handed slugger said being part of the 2012 Nationals team that won the National League East title was a highlight of his career. He credits his relationship with general manager Mike Rizzo and the Lerner family.

“They have a special place in my heart,” he said of the Nationals. “I have a lot of good memories there. I reached out (about broadcasting) and we went from there. They keep asking me back. I would only want to do (broadcasting) for the Nationals.”

Morse sat in the MASN booth to observe Wednesday night and was able to be on hand as Nationals rookie teenager Juan Soto hit two homers in a 5-4 win over the Yankees.

At 19 years old and in just his 20th big league game, Soto became the youngest to homer at either Yankee Stadium since Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1989.

“He is very special,” Morse said. “He looks like he is an eight or 10-year veteran. He is an eager kid who wants to learn.”

Morse said Rizzo has done a good job of mixing in young players with a veteran core.

Morse said he was happy to see the Washington Capitals win the first major sports title for the District in 26 years with the Stanley Cup championship.

“I think it is awesome. It is so good for the city. It is pretty cool,” he said.

Morse and MASN’s Bob Carpenter will have plenty to talk about this weekend.

The Nationals are battling the Atlanta Braves for first in the National League East while the news came Thursday that Ted Lerner stepped down as managing principal owner of the Nationals. His son, Mark, will now take over that role. The family has owned the team since 2006.

Major League Baseball approved the move early Thursday during meetings here in New York.

“Owning a baseball team in my hometown had long been a dream of mine,” said Ted Lerner in a statement. “Twelve years ago, when Major League Baseball selected my family as the owners of the Washington Nationals, I could not have been happier. I always knew that someday my son, Mark, would take over my role as Managing Principal Owner. That day has come. I look forward to watching him take the helm and help lead this team to a world championship.”

“Baseball has long been my passion,” Mark Lerner said in the statement. “Since being awarded the team in 2006, my family has taken great pride in our fans and this team. We have always strived for excellence both on and off the field. That will not change. Our family will continue to put our fans first and do everything possible to bring a World Series trophy to D.C. It is incredibly special for my mother and father to be able to see me take the helm. And it means so much to me that they chose to make this change now.”

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