ATLANTA - AUGUST 31: Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals hits a 7th inning home run against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 31, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
The rain that brought about an end to Washington Nationals' outfielder Michael Morse's first rehab start with High-A Potomac was audible on the recording of the post game press conference the Nats' minor league affiliate released tonight. Morse, who's been out all season recovering from a lat injury sustained this Spring, was the P-Nats' DH tonight. The 30-year-old slugger, who signed a 2-year/$10.5M dollar extension after a breakout year in 2011, walked in his first live AB since he was shut down following a few minor league games earlier this season. The second time up in the Potomac third, Morse K'd swinging at a 2-2 pitch (slider) from 21-year-old right-hander Roman Mendez, a Texas Rangers' prospect throwing for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. When rain ended the game in the 5th, the P-Nats led the Pelicans 3-0. They'll reportedly finish this game tomorrow night as part of a doubleheader.
• Listen to Michael Morse's Post Game Press Conference Below via Potomac's Official Twitter account (@PNats42):
Michael Morse's postgame press conference after tonight's game.soundcloud.com/potomacnationa…— Potomac Nationals (@PNats42) May 30, 2012
Morse told reporters after the game that he was immediately comfortable at the plate even though he hadn't faced live pitching for some time while he rehabbed. Asked if he was nervous about the injury when he first stepped up, the Nats' outfielder said, "Absolutely not," before adding that the lat injury, "... has never bothered me swinging." Though he didn't play the field, Morse reminded reporters that he's been on a throwing program for some time now, and as he put it, "I'm throwing more now than I've ever thrown in my life. I throw a hundred throws a day and the ball is coming out nice and easy, and it feels great. I don't feel any pain or nothing."
As for the upcoming days, Morse said he would probably play in each of tomorrow's games, and hoped to play the field though he noted it wasn't his decision. The hard-hitting outfielder said he surprised himself with how good he felt at the plate tonight. "For not really seeing a lot of pitches in three months or something," Morse explained, "I felt really good. I felt like, almost normal."
"I know my swing, and I know what I have to do," Morse said in discussing getting back to live action, "Just trying to be easy and just see the ball, hit the ball. So, I felt good. I actually felt great." Asked when he hoped to get back to the majors with the Nationals, the veteran of seven MLB seasons, who put up a .303/.360/.550 line with 36 doubles and 31 HR's last year, said simply, "ASAP," and laughed. Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters early this afternoon that the team hoped to have Morse back when the Nationals return to D.C. this weekend:
Davey is optimistic that Michael Morse will join the team on the homestand if nothing goes awry. Even if he just pinch hits.— Amanda Comak (@acomak) May 29, 2012