FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Nationals will be without their projected cleanup hitter/left fielder, closer, starting center fielder and fifth starter to begin the season.
Manager Davey Johnson said today that Michael Morse, Drew Storen, Rick Ankiel and Chien-Ming Wang will all start the season on the disabled list.
Morse (strained lat) and Ankiel (quad) will work out the with the team these next couple days but will begin the season on a rehab assignment, likely with Double-A Harrisburg, Johnson said.
Both guys will need to be cleared by team trainers before playing in games. They will likely alternate games as the Senators' designated hitter with the guy not serving as the DH playing in the outfield.
Morse would be eligible to return to the Nats as early as April 10, because his DL stint can be backdated to March 26, while Ankiel would be able to return as early as April 12. The center fielder played in a Grapefruit League game on March 27, which means the Nats can't backdate his DL stint until March 28.
Johnson said that he hopes that "one or both" of his injured outfielders will be able to rejoin the Nats when they return home from their opening road trip on April 12.
Storen (elbow tightness) and Wang (strained hamstring) are expected to be out at least until mid-April.
Wang believes that he'll start his rehab assignment at high-A Potomac. He has been able to play long-toss recently and has been doing conditioning drills with a trainer, walking steps and doing some light jogging.
Storen, who continues to progress nicely, will likely throw a bullpen session today.