MIAMI - Michael Morse knows, technically, what he needs to do to fix his swing. He's at his best when he's able to hit the ball for power to the opposite field, and that requires him letting the ball travel deeper into the strike zone, instead of jumping out in front of it like he's been doing in the first week of the season.
But on a more nebulous level, the fix for Morse's early struggles might be this: He needs to stop being so excited.
The left fielder gets a night off against the Marlins to distance himself from his 2-for-17 start, while the Nationals take a look at Laynce Nix in his place. At age 29, Morse has a starting job in the majors for the first time after toiling as a utility player for four seasons and making a name for himself as a pinch hitter and fourth outfielder last year. He's coming off a spring in which he hit nine homers and snagged the left field job, and he's hitting fifth in the Nationals' lineup, where he's expected to be a vital cog.
There's still a level of giddiness in Morse's voice when he talks about it, and when he's at the plate, he might need to temper that.
"I wake up in the morning, and I'm just so happy," Morse said. "It's more that I'm so excited that I'm playing every day, and getting to bat fifth in this lineup. Maybe I'm too excited. I just need to calm down, be myself and just play, let the ball travel deeper and hit the other way."