Your latest incremental updates on Morse, LaRoche, Ankiel

VIERA, Fla. - Given the fact that it rained here in Viera this morning, it's only fitting that Stephen Strasburg is taking the mound for the Nationals today.

Strasburg always seems to get the ball when the temperature drops or the conditions are poor.

"He's a mudder," manager Davey Johnson joked.

Here are your latest injury updates, which seem to be getting tweaked every 12 hours:

Left fielder Michael Morse (strained lat) is now scheduled to start throwing on Wednesday, and will start getting at-bats on the minor league side sometime soon. Johnson said that two or three days ago, he was certain Morse would start the season on the DL, but now, he's not so sure.

"I have a feeling that he could be close," Johnson said.

First baseman Adam LaRoche keeps telling Johnson that he could tape up his injured left foot and play if it was opening day, which is nice to hear, but LaRoche is still being brought along slowly as he recovers from a bone bruise on the outside of his foot.

The Nats training staff wanted to put LaRoche's foot in a boot at one point, but the veteran declined. He's still scheduled to start cutting and turning around the bases tomorrow.

Between LaRoche and Morse, Johnson says LaRoche is more likely to be ready for opening day.

Center fielder Rick Ankiel is fine, Johnson said, he just isn't in today's lineup because he made the long trip to and from yesterday's game in Sarasota and played a good chunk of the game.

Ankiel should start playing on an everyday basis beginning tomorrow.

Also, here's something important to note: Tomorrow is the earliest date on which teams can retroactively put players on the DL.

Injured players are allowed to play in minor league games past tomorrow and still start the season on the DL retroactive to March 26. If a guy plays in a major league spring game after tomorrow but starts the season on the DL, however, it can only be retroactive to their last Grapefruit/Cactus League appearance.

What's this all mean when it comes to the Nationals? If Morse, for example, is cleared to return to game action sometime later this week, the Nats might choose to play him in minor league contests but not in Grapefruit League games. That way, if Morse needs to open the season on the DL, the team can backdate it to March 26.

Got all that? Hope I didn't confuse anyone nearly as much as I just confused myself.

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