WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 22: Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals runs to make a play at first base against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third inning at Nationals Park on August 22, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Washington Nationals won, 4-1. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Michael Morse was 0 for 1 with a walk and a K when rain delayed the completion of Tuesday night's game between the Class-A Carolina League's Potomac Nationals and Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX). The two teams picked things up tonight as part of a doubleheader at the P-Nats' home, Pfitzner Stadium. Morse ended up 1 for 3 with an RBI, driving in the Nats' high-A affiliate's fifth run in a 5-3 win in game one. In game two tonight, the 30-year-old Nats' slugger was 2 for 3 w/ a double, leaving Morse 3 for 6 in his first two rehab starts as he works his way back from a lat injury that's kept him on the sidelines through the first two months of the season. Earlier this afternoon, an excited Nationals' manager Davey Johnson told reporters in Miami that he thought Morse was close to returning to the nation's capital's Nats' lineup.
As the Washington Times' Amanda Comak reported, the Nats' skipper said there was an "outside possibility" of the right-handed middle-of-the-order bat returning this weekend when Washington welcomes the Atlanta Braves to Nationals Park. And if he's ready, Johnson told the Times' Ms. Comak, he'd have no problem working Morse right back into the lineup:
"'I'd throw him right out there,' Johnson said. 'If he's able to go, I'll throw him in right away. He might connect and hit one hard. It'd be a welcome addition.'"
Even though he didn't play the field in either of tonight's games, Morse said he's gotten a good deal of throwing in beforehand. "Before the game I got to throw to the bases. I did my throwing program. I worked out earlier today at Nationals Park and everything. I've been doing, I call it two-a-days, every day. I played a doubleheader game today and I felt good. I got to run the bases a little bit and I feel like I'm right where I need to be."
Asked how optimistic he was that he'd be back in Nats Park playing for real in the near future, the outfielder said it wasn't his decision. "It's not up to me at this point. It's up to Davey [Johnson] and the trainers and everybody else, but on my end I feel 100% and I'm feeling pretty good at the plate."
Morse told reporters, after the P-Nats lost the second game of the doubleheader, that he thought he would play right field tomorrow. "I think I'm playing five innings in right field," Morse said, "I think that's what's on the schedule." Both Davey Johnson, in his pregame press conference in Miami, and D.C. GM Mike Rizzo on The Mike Rizzo Show on 106.7 the FAN, suggested on Wednesday that Morse would likely end up back in right when he returns to the majors with Steve Lombardozzi in left and Bryce Harper in center. Roger Bernadina played right for the Nats tonight. Will the Nationals have a Lombo, Harper, Morse outfield when they start the three-game set with Atlanta Friday night?
• You can listen to the full interview with Morse below courtesy of the Potomac Nationals on Twitter (@PNats42):