WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals reacts after striking out to end the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. Atlanta won the game 7-4. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
The problem with the lat in Michael Morse's right shoulder wasn't affecting his ability to swing a bat, but throwing has been the issue from the start. So it's no surprise that, as the Washington Times' Amanda Comak reported on Twitter this afternoon @AComak, the 30-year-old slugger hit a home run today in an extended Spring Training game that's yet another step in his recovery from an injury that's limited him to just four games and 13 plate appearances this season, all in the minors as he attempted to play through the problem earlier this year. Morse, according to reports out of Atlanta this afternoon, will spend the weekend in Florida at the Nationals' facilities in Viera, then report to Class-A Potomac where he'll play for the P-Nats on Monday night barring any setbacks:
Michael Morse hit a homer as part of a 2-for-3 day in extended spring today. He'll play in extended thru Sunday, in Potomac on Monday.— Amanda Comak (@acomak) May 25, 2012
Mike Morse will play a rehab game Monday in Potomac, Davey says. Morse hit two homers today in extended spring training.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) May 25, 2012
It was during a minor league game earlier this Spring with Class-A Hagerstown that Morse suffered a setback, as he struggled to throw in from the outfield, leading to his shoulder being re-examined before he was placed on the DL.
The right-handed hitting and throwing big middle-of-the-order bat is reportedly on schedule for a June 8th return to the majors when the Nationals travel to Boston for interleague play with the Sox, though he's hinted that he thinks he could return sooner than that.
Morse is coming off a .303/.360/.550, 36 doubles, 31 HR, +3.4 fWAR 2011 campaign, after which he signed a two-year/$10.5M dollar extension with the Nats. In announcing the plans for Morse's rehab last weekend, Nats' skipper Davey Johnson said that, "... once he can swing and throw from the outfield, I think very shortly after that he can go anywhere and play. Certainly DH and play left field." If he's fine after the weekend, that next step in the process will begin on Monday.