The Nationals announced during today's game that Michael Morse had been removed from the contest due to right thumb soreness, an issue which plagued the left fielder back in mid-August, causing him to leave one game early and sit out another.
In his postgame talk with reporters, Davey Johnson indicated something different - that he took Morse out as a precaution because the bottom of Morse's hand was still bothering him after the left fielder got hit by a pitch in Philadelphia back on Aug. 24.
"Where he got hit was acting up," Johnson said. "I knew their pitcher was going to pound him in, and I didn't want to aggravate it worse. He didn't want to come out. I just said, 'You're coming out.' I don't need you aggravating."
Asked about how he was feeling after the game, Morse wasn't in much of a mood to get into specifics.
"I don't know. I have no clue. Whatever he says," Morse said.
Apparently Morse doesn't feel discomfort in his hand has been an issue lately.
"No, my hand feels fine," he said. "My hand feels good."
Just before getting pulled from the game, Morse was called off by Bryce Harper on a fly ball to left-center. As Harper settled under the ball, Morse cut in front of him and mimicked catching the fly ball himself. When he came into the dugout, Johnson told Morse he was going to insert Roger Bernadina for him as a pinch-hitter.
Johnson said he expects Morse to be able to play tomorrow, but as of tonight, there seems to be a little uncertainly as to what exactly caused Morse to be pulled from the game - the thumb, the hand or something else.
Even without their starting left fielder for the final five innings, the Nationals still managed to pull out a 2-1 win. That was largely because Ross Detwiler was so good on the mound.
Detwiler threw seven scoreless innings and again looked like a guy who is starting to come into his own as a major league pitcher.
"I'm more learning myself and what I need to do in different situations," Detwiler said. "Say I'm behind in the count. I'm learning how to throw a change-up, or how to throw a sinker down in the zone, instead of just sinking in there and letting it get hit. I think that's the biggest thing. And Kurt Suzuki, you can't say enough about that guy. He's been working with me. He hasn't yelled at me yet, but he works well with me, working on my angle and keeping the ball down."
I'll have much more in-depth stuff on Detwiler tomorrow morning.
Adam LaRoche seems like he's climbing out of a bit of a funk, and now has two home runs in his last two starts and an RBI in each of his last four starts. Known as a streaky hitter, LaRoche's swing is apparently back on track.
"Yeah, it feels better," he said. "It feels better. We've tweaked a couple things in the cage, trying some very minor adjustments. So I still go back and forth, but it feels pretty good."
As for LaRoche's sore back, that doesn't feel much better.
"It's OK. It wasn't great today," LaRoche said. "Honestly, I think it's worse sitting than out there playing. When I sit 15-20 minutes, it gets really tight. So I'm better out there moving around. But it's not bad."