Morse has a bad bruise, Desmond has a hamstring strain

PHILADELPHIA - The bad news is the Nationals' run of injuries continues.

The good news is that neither Michael Morse nor Ian Desmond should be out of the Nationals' lineup all that long.

X-rays on Morse's hand came back negative after the Nationals' outfielder got hit on the right hand by a Kyle Kendrick pitch in the first inning of tonight's game. The injury looked bad at the time, as Morse dropped to his knees in pain as he got attended to by a trainer, but manager Davey Johnson said Morse merely has a contusion on the hand.

"The good news is it's not broken," Johnson said. "X-rays were negative. He's got a bad bruise, but hopefully he'll be all right in a few short days."

Morse admitted that he thought the injury might be bad when it first happened, but said he just had some swelling in the hand after the game.

"Any time you get hit in the hands it's kind of nerve-wracking but, you know, X-rays came out negative and stuff so I should be all right," he said.

Morse, who is hitting .286 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs this seaosn, can only hope that this injury doesn't linger nearly as long as the strained lat that he came down with in spring training. The Nats initially believed that Morse would only be out a few days because of the lat, but he ended up missing nearly all of spring training and the first 50 games of the regular season.

"I'm hoping this time (won't be) like last time," Morse said with a smile. "Ugh. Yeah."

Desmond, meanwhile, now has a mild right hamstring strain after hyperextending his knee during Wednesday's game against the Braves. Johnson said that the hyperextension likely caused the hamstring to stretch, and when Desmond felt a little something in that area before today's game, Johnson took no chances and scratched him from the lineup.

"I wasn't going to use him to pinch-hit and aggravate that and have a bigger problem," Johnson said. "With the off-day (yesterday) and probably the whole weekend, hopefully he'll be all right. Just have to go day-by-day."

"At no point was it ever excruciating pain by any means," Desmond said. "I just felt it a little bit. I told him I feel it a little bit. It was his decision to say, 'Hey, let's back it down and see if we can get it right.' "

Johnson will likely give his All-Star shortstop the next two days off. He would then be able to benefit from five full days of rest before the Nats start a two-game series in Miami, thanks to yesterday's off-day and one coming up this Monday, as well.

"I guess (that plan) kind of makes sense," Desmond said. "Take care of it and kind of get it right for Miami."

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