Washington Nationals' Michael Morse's Lat Issues Updated; Gio Gonzalez's Long Day.

March 12, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Michael Morse (38) at the plate during the spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

March 6: The lat strain that's limited Michael Morse to just three games and seven at bats this Spring was originally described as a "tweak", with team officials saying they were "unconcerned" about the issue which was only expected to cause the 1B/OF (who turned 30 today) to miss a few days. March 10: Morse had a cortisone shot to "... ease the right lat strain he's been dealing with for the past week or so," as the Washington Times' Amanda Comak reported. March 15: Morse can swing a bat, but has problems throwing. March 17: A follow-up MRI confirms the original diagnosis, it's just a lat strain. March 20: Reporters are told Morse will be shut down for a week. No baseball activities. March 21: Nats' skipper Davey Johnson tells reporters he's not sure Michael Morse is going to make it back for Opening Day. March 22: Reports say that Morse has undergone a "platelet-rich plasma treatment" and Davey Johnson tells reporters, as quoted by NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman that Morse is, "... probably more of a candidate to not open the season." March 22nd: Reporters everywhere around D.C. and Viera, Florida google "platelet-rich plasma treatment." March 22nd: Fans everywhere begin to worry about Morse...

• NatGio Start no. 4: Today's third baseman for the Nationals, Mark DeRosa, tried to backhand a grounder off Carlos Beltran's bat on the second pitch of the game, but he came up empty on what's ruled a one-out infield single for the Cardinals' outfielder. Gio Gonzalez put the second runner on in the first himself, issuing a one-out walk to Matt Holliday, but the Nats' 26-year-old left-hander struck Cards' third baseman David Freese out with a two-strike curve, and got a weak grounder to third from Yadier Molina to complete his first scoreless frame this afternoon...

Back-to-back singles by Cards' right fielder Shane Robinson and first baseman Tony Cruz brought St. Louis' lefty Jaime Garcia up with runners on first and third and one down in the second. The Cards' starter battled Gio Gonzalez, but K'd swinging with Cruz running from first. The Nats caught Cruz in a rundown between first and second tagging him out after nearly botching the play, but getting the out at second only after Robinson had scored from third to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead after two.

Roger Bernadina just missed making a sliding/diving play in left on a line drive off Carlos Beltran's bat. One-out double for Beltran in the third. Gio Gonzalez just missed with a full-count fastball to Matt Holliday in the next at bat, and was visibly frustrated with the call which drew complaints from the Nats' dugout as well. With runners on first and second and one down, Gonzalez got a weak grounder to third from David Freese, but gave up a two-out, two-run line drive single to left by Cards' catcher Yadier Molina that made it a 3-0 game after three innings.

Things fall apart in the fourth. Gio gives up a line drive single to right by Shane Robinson, an RBI double to left by Tony Cruz, then after a sac bunt by Jaime Garcia, the Nats' lefty gives up a towering (355ft+) blast to left field by Cards' infielder Tyler Greene that makes it a 5-0 game. A walk to Carlos Beltran, a double to left by Adron Chambers, a two-run single by Matt Carpenter, another one-out walk to Yadier Molina...this is getting ugly...and Gonzalez thinks he's getting squeezed...Rafael Furcal K's looking for out no.2 of the Cards' fourth and that ends Gio Gonzalez's day: 3.2 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 4 BB, 3 K's, 85 pitches, 50 strikes.

• The Cards added a run on a sac fly in the sixth off Nats' lefty Ross Detwiler, who gave up three hits, a run and a walk while recording three K's. Henry Rodriguez and Atahualpa Severino followed with scoreless innings of their own, but the Nationals' offense comes up empty, striking out 13 times and connecting for just four hits in what's eventually a 9-0 Grapefruit League loss. BOX SCORE.

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