PHILADELPHIA - It's clear at this point that Michael Morse is going to have to play though his lingering wrist and hand issues for the rest of this season.
He won't be 100 percent healthy the rest of the way out, and a lot of Morse's performance will be about how much he'll be able to tolerate, and fight through, any pain he feels when swinging.
Morse is in the Nationals' lineup tonight, but manager Davey Johnson admits that he doesn't have a lot of faith that Morse is back healthy enough that he'll be able to put up the type of power numbers the Nats have come to expect of him.
"I'm not real confident, but the doctors tell me he can't really hurt it worse, and he wants to play and I want him in there," Johnson said. "So we'll see how it goes."
Morse didn't play yesterday and he received what Johnson called a "full dose of everything" during a session with the team trainers. That full dose of everything included an anti-inflammatory shot. Johnson seemed unclear of where exactly the shot was given yesterday, and when I asked about it today, he paused for a couple seconds before delivering his answer.
"It was in the rear end," he said with a smile.
Morse has dealt with both a left wrist injury and a right hand issue the last couple months. Since injuring his left wrist against the Giants on Aug. 13, Morse's offensive numbers have dropped off; he's batting just .257 with three homers, 12 RBIs and a .367 slugging percentage in his 29 games since the injury.
If the Nats can get Morse back producing the way he was last year and earlier this season when healthy, their lineup will be even more potent.
"He was our cleanup hitter last year," Johnson said. "We need him warming up and doing the things he's capable of doing. Everything in our offense is clicking pretty good, except I want him. ... He's right in the heart of the order. And we need him to do the things I know he's capable of doing. We've got some tough games coming up."