VIERA, Fla. - Michael Morse isn't in the Nationals' lineup tonight, but that doesn't mean the left fielder isn't getting work in today.
Morse, who is still dealing with a lat strain, will head over to a side field at the Nats' complex and play in a minor league game today. He plans on getting 6-8 at-bats during that game, which he much prefers over the 2-3 that he would get if he was to travel with the Nationals to Orlando for tonight's game against the Braves.
"I can actually work on stuff if I want," said Morse, adding that if he wanted to just watch pitches come in and focus on getting a read on the ball, he could take every pitch he saw during the minor league game.
As for Morse's health, he insists that the lingering lat strain isn't a concern, even after feeling a little discomfort when throwing recently, and says that he has no intention of pushing things and rushing back prematurely.
Morse has yet to play in the outfield this spring, merely serving as the Nats' DH in the three Grapefruit League games in which he's appeared. But again, he isn't concerned that his lack of playing time in left field will leave him unprepared for the regular season.
"I'm shagging during BP, that's the biggest thing we can do," Morse said. "Getting that live ball off the bat. I feel good. My defense is fine. I just want to get more reps hitting."
Morse has gone 2-for-7 with a double, RBI and two walks so far.
Joining Morse in today's minor league game will be outfielder Jayson Werth and second baseman Danny Espinosa.
Werth was originally scheduled to head to Orlando tonight, but he'll get in his hacks in Viera instead.
Here's the Nationals' new lineup for tonight's game against the Braves:
SS Ian Desmond
2B Steve Lombardozzi
3B Mark DeRosa
1B Adam LaRoche
DH Chad Tracy
RF Bryce Harper
C Jesus Flores
LF Roger Bernadina
CF Eury Perez
Stephen Strasburg will get the start for the Nats tonight. He's scheduled to be followed to the mound by Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Fulchino, Ryan Mattheus and Waldis Joaquin.