PHILADELPHIA -- His right hand still red and swollen, Michael Morse was not surprisingly out of the starting lineup for tonight's game against the Phillies, but the Nationals left fielder remains hopeful he'll be back within a matter of days.
Morse took a pitch off the outside of his hand during the first inning of Friday night's game and immediately dropped to a knee in obvious pain. Nationals officials and teammates were worried the pitch broke a bone, but X-rays came back negative and Morse was diagnosed only with a bad bruise.
Though it was an encouraging diagnosis, Morse is still dealing with pain and as of this afternoon had yet to attempt to grip a bat or ball.
"Gripping is tough," he said. "It's a little weak. I'm still trying to get my pinky to move a little more."
Morse described the overall feeling in his hand as "just sore" and "kind of weak." He planned to attempt to start testing it out while the rest of the Nationals are playing the Phillies tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
Morse said throwing may actually be a bigger concern than hitting.
Though Morse didn't entirely rule out the possibility of playing in Sunday's series finale, manager Davey Johnson suggested he's likely to be held out until the Nationals play in Miami on Tuesday.
"Yeah, probably," Johnson said. "It's going to be up to Michael. He got hit pretty good, so just play it day-by-day."
Ian Desmond, meanwhile, was out of the lineup for the second straight night with a mild hamstring strain suffered while taking an awkward step near first base on Wednesday in Washington. The Nationals shortstop doesn't expect to play at all this weekend.
"We're probably on a day-to-day basis," Johnson said. "But I'm not going to take a chance on injuries."
With 11 strikeouts and only two hits in eight innings, Stephen Strasburg contained the Marlins to nothing as the Nationals won 5-0 in Miami. Here are the latest news and notes after Sunday’s victory.
Anthony Rendon remains day-to-day after being hit on his left elbow by a pitch Saturday. He left Saturday’s game and missed Sunday’s outing as well. Howie Kendrick, his replacement thus far, finished the series against Miami going 1-for-3 with a single RBI.
Stephen Strasburg posted double-digit strikeouts for the first time this season (11). Strasburg dropped his ERA by almost 1.5 runs, and is expected to start next against the Padres. That series begins Friday, April 26.
Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-4 with two home runs. He tallied two RBIs as well.
3B Anthony Rendon: Elbow hit by pitch, day-to-day
RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, 10-day IL
RP Justin Miller: Back, 10-day IL
SS Trea Turner: Finger, 10-day IL
RP Koda Glover: Elbow, 10-day IL
Monday, 4/22: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET, Coors Field
Tuesday, 4/23: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET, Coors Field
Wednesday, 4/24: Nationals @ Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET, Coors Field
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The Nationals face the Rockies at Coors Field for the first half of this work week. Here are three things to watch for:
Can the Nationals stay above .500? Stephen Strasburg’s impressive start along with Ryan Zimmerman’s two homers and two RBI kept Washington from being swept by the lowly Marlins.
Who will produce with Anthony Rendon out? While the Nats 3B was sidelined with an elbow injury after being hit by a pitch in Saturday’s outing against the Marlins, Howie Kendrick started in his place. Kendrick went 1-for-3 vs Miami with one RBI and one strikeout. In terms of replacing Rendon’s hitting prowess, Victor Robles has started a streak of his own. The youngster is hot on a seven game hit streak, including a bunt over the infield Sunday.
Will the Nationals ever sure up their end game? Yesterday’s ninth inning was on the brink of disaster. Kyle Barraclough allowed back-to-back walks, then Sean Doolittle loaded the bases. Luckily for the Nats, crisis averted.
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