CHICAGO - After homering yesterday while on his rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg, Nationals outfielder Michael Morse is heading up to New York today to get some treatment on his strained lat.
Morse, who was scheduled to have today off, will meet with a specialist and receive treatment and some massage on his lat, according to manager Davey Johnson. Morse will rejoin the Senators tomorrow and is eligible to come off the DL and suit up for the Nationals as early as April 10.
Johnson said that Morse is feeling good as he rehabs from his injury, but “felt a little bit” of something in the lat after throwing, and will get it worked on by the specialist, who has worked in the past with right fielder Jayson Werth and Yankees stars Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
“I’m sure he tried to throw too much and felt a little bit there,” Johnson said. “But nothing wrong with swinging.”
Johnson said he’s gotten positive reports on both Morse and center fielder Rick Ankiel, who is rehabbing a quad injury and is eligible to come off the DL April 14.
“Those guys are knocking on the door,” Johnson said. “They’re getting closer. They’re probably a week or so away for probably both of them.”
Ankiel is in the Senators’ lineup today and is scheduled to DH.
When Morse and Ankiel return, the Nats will need to free up two spots on the 25-man roster, which leaves guys like Roger Bernadina and Brett Carroll on the bubble.
Asked specifically about Bernadina before the game, Johnson said that the 27-year-old needs to try and maximize the opportunity he has with Morse and Ankiel out.
“This is an important time for him, as is anybody in the starting lineup,” Johnson said. “Because those guys, Michael Morse especially, we’re definitely holding a spot open for him.”
Johnson said he has an idea of how he’ll handle the back end of the roster once Morse and Ankiel return, but said that things can change.
One guy who doesn’t appear in danger of losing a spot is Xavier Nady, who Johnson said would start in right field against a left-handed pitcher, with Jayson Werth moving over to center.