Morse targeting Tuesday return to Nats lineup

ATLANTA - After being out of the Nationals lineup for the last four games, including tonight's contest, Michael Morse said today he hopes to return for Tuesday's game against the Dodgers.

Morse, who is dealing with a lingering left wrist injury, still has not taken batting practice since being shut down following last Tuesday's game in New York. Depending on how he's feeling, Morse could either take BP tomorrow on the Nationals' off-day or wait until Tuesday.

Manager Davey Johnson said he'd consider playing Morse on Tuesday even if his left fielder isn't able to test the wrist out until Tuesday afternoon.

"At this time of the season, I'll probably be a little more aggressive if the doctors tell me it's not something that can get worse," Johnson said. "It's basically a bone bruise, and I don't think they get worse. So I'd probably run him out there."

That said, Johnson isn't ready to guarantee that Morse will play Tuesday night.

"I'm not counting on nothin'," Johnson said. "I'm not taking anything for granted."

The goal is not just for Morse to return to the Nationals lineup but also be the guy that the Nats know he can be. The wrist injury sapped Morse's power for much of the last month, and he had just two extra-base hits and a .300 slugging percentage in the 21 games before he took himself out of the lineup.

In the 27 games prior to that, Morse hit .315 with eight home runs, seven doubles and a .595 slugging percentage.

Morse wants to play, but he also wants to produce at the level he expects of himself.

"I want to get some of the pain out so I can ride the rest of the way," he said.

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