Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Return To The Nation's Capital... Will Michael Morse Join Them?

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 2: Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals reacts after striking out and retiring the seventh inning against the New York Mets at Nationals Park on September 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. The New York Mets won, 7-3. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

• THE BIG STORY!?!?!: "Didn't feel anything. Nothing bothering me. Felt good to be out there," Washington Nationals' outfielder Michael Morse said Thursday night after he'd gone 0 for 3 and made one throw in from the outfield to test the health of the injured lat that's so far delayed the start of his 2012 campaign. "I know that they wanted to see a couple balls in the outfield," Morse told reporters, "which was good. I had one at the wall I had to throw in. Felt good. Felt fine." The 30-year-old outfielder said the lat was no longer a concern for him, and he was concentrating on his hitting. "It's hard to get the same feel of being in a big league park, in a big league stadium," the outfielder explained, "to have that mentality. That's what I was trying to do today, but I feel good. I feel good. And I can't wait to go back."

As of last night, Morse still hadn't been told one way or another whether he'd be playing in Washington or with one of the affiliates tonight, but he stated clearly that at this point in his recovery, if it was up to him, "Then I'd be ready. For sure." The seven-year veteran said he felt like he was 18 again, and sounded like he was "chomping at the bit" as Davey Johnson has described him recently, to get back to the majors. "It's Opening Day for me soon," Morse said at the conclusion of the recording of Thursday's post game press conference which was posted by the Potomac Nationals via their official Twitter account @PNats42.

Will Michael Morse be back in the nation's capital tonight? Stay tuned. For now, read some links. And you can get started on your weekend, RIGHT NOW!!!

• NATS BEAT:

• "Several Nationals officials, including bench coach Randy Knorr, head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz and minor league field coordinator Bobby Henley, sat in the stands behind home plate." - "Michael Morse ‘ready’ to join Nationals, awaiting decision" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Michael Morse could make his season debut for the Nationals tonight." - "The Morse Effect" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "[Michael] Morse played five innings in right field and went 0-for-3 at the plate, making him 3-for-9 with a double and a walk in his three games with the P-Nats." - "Nationals Pastime: Morse plays five innings in right field during rehab game" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'It was easier, I guess, in the years we took Bryce [Harper] and Stephen Strasburg,' scouting director Kris Kline said.'" - "Nationals in unfamiliar Draft position" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Based on what I saw last night and what he said afterward, my hunch is Michael Morse will join the Nationals tonight." - "How will Michael Morse’s return change the Nationals?" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "16. Washington Nationals: Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State - If Marrero gets by the Mets at No. 12, this is likely to be as far as he falls. With the Nats building a contender, bringing in an advanced glove at a premium position might fit perfectly." - "Mock Draft: Projecting the first round" - Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com: News

• "'All I can say is that we’ve got 16 names up on our board right now,' scouting director Kris Kline said Thursday. 'And we will definitely get one of them.'" - "This year, Nationals aren't in a rush to make pick at MLB draft" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Washington's 19-year-old outfielder is one of baseball's three percent -- the estimated portion of position players who have made it to the Major Leagues for at least one game as a teen since 1901...' - "Bryce Harper in elite company as teen slugger" - Evan Drellich, nationals.com: News

• "Even after those three losses in Miami, overall the Nats are 11-6 against the NL East and in a solid position as the calendar flips to June." - "An ugly end of the road" - Brian McNally, Washington Examiner

• "We still don't know whether manager Davey Johnson will have Michael Morse at his disposal tonight or whether the veteran outfielder will continue his rehab assignment out with Single-A Potomac." - "Nationals Pastime: Back at home, with or without Morse" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Entering Friday’s opener of a three-game series with the Braves, the Nats have spent 55 days atop the division." - "Nationals thrive with can-do attitude" - Deron Snyder, Washington Times

• "[Steve] Lombardozzi arrived at spring training this season hoping to make the 25-man roster. Fifty games into the season, he has become their regular leadoff hitter..." - "Nationals’ Steve Lombardozzi brings the right approach" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "In fact, it's safe to say that he is one of Washington's best hitters. Entering Friday's action against the Braves, Lombardozzi is hitting .320 with seven RBIs and a team-leading .381 on-base percentage." - "For Nationals' Steve Lombardozzi, it's all about having a plan" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "That the Nationals are winning without some of their key players has not gone unnoticed by the folks in Las Vegas, where 'moneyball' has a whole new meaning." - "All of a sudden, Las Vegas is in love with the Nationals" - Jim Williams, Washington Examiner

• "[Stephen] Strasburg’s surprising slugging has helped the Nationals’ rotation become the best in baseball in the batter’s box." - "Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals’ pitching staff can hit" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "When [Michael] Morse returns to the Nationals, however, he'll also give the team an interesting outfield alignment, one no one could have possibly envisioned the Nats would have in early June." - "Nationals Pastime: New outfield alignment will sacrifice defense for offense" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Warm-heartedness reinforces our self-confidence – giving us not a blind confidence, but a sense of confidence based on reason."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns starter Nathan Karns (3-0) won his second straight start with six scoreless innings and four strike outs." - "Suns Dump Shorebirds 12-0" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "Michael Morse went hitless in three at bats for the Potomac Nationals as they defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 4-2 to earn a series split." - "Morse Goes Hitless in P-Nats Victory" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Sea Dogs 7, Senators 2 - Eury Perez - 3 for 4, 1 2B; Paul Demny - 5.0 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's, 1 HR - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

• "Center fielder Eury Perez is in another one of his hot-hitting grooves, making good contact and seeing the ball well, now two months into the his Double-A Harrisburg season." - "Eury Perez working on consistent groove in Harrisburg" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "Syracuse next heads to Indianapolis to begin a four-game series against the Indians on Friday night at 7:15." - "Chiefs, Bats postponed on Thursday" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Last Night In Woodbridge" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "The event will take place on Thursday, June 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Penn Quarter Sports Tavern in the District." -"Nats Insider Party - June 14" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Tomorrow is apparently a big day that the Washington Nationals-MASN/Baltimore Orioles stalemate." - "In theory the Nats vs. MASN/Angelos dispute will be closer to being settled tomorrow" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• "For Nationals fans, the only thing uglier than that rotating home run display in Marlins Park is the result of the series just concluded there..." - "Losses to Marlins tough to swallow, but Nats have bigger fish to fry" - Nationals Buzz: Marty Niland, MASNSports.com

• "June 1, 1916 - Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth lock up in a pitching duel at Fenway. Ruth allows 3 hits and the Red Sox Nick Johnson and the Nats, 1-0." - "This Date in Washington Senators History" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "Gio Gonzalez got an early Christmas present this previous year, as he was traded away from the middling Athletics..." - "Trade Reaction" - Mac, Capitol Baseball

• "[Bryce] Harper is definitely a contender for NL Rookie of the Year this season, and it’s not just hype." - "Who Should Roam The Nationals Outfield When Morse Returns?" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Tim McCarver is an old man who gets paid to talk about a baseball for a living for reasons I’ve never understood." - "Nats: Tim McCarver thinks Bryce Harper is too enthusiastic" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "Several Mets said [Carlos] Beltran deserves 'a pretty warm reception,' as David Wright put it." - "David Wright, Terry Collins and NY Mets wish warm welcome for Cardinals' Carlos Beltran in return to Citi Field - until the game starts" - Anthony McCarron, NY Daily News

Braves: "The Atlanta Braves have promoted shortstop Andrelton Simmons from the minors, replacing Tyler Pastornicky up the middle." - "Prospect of the Day: Andrelton Simmons, SS, Atlanta Braves" - John Sickels, Minor League Ball

Miami: "[Giancarlo] Stanton, 22, led National League hitters in May in home runs, slugging percentage (.769) and on-base plus slugging (1.201)." - "Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton draws attention after a merry, merry month of May" - Joe Capozzi, Palm Beach Post

Phillies: "Ruben Amaro’s Greatest Hits" - Michael Baumann, Crashburn Alley

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