Updated at 1:47 a.m.
PHOENIX -- The Nationals have placed Nyjer Morgan on the 15-day disabled list with right hip inflammation despite the outfielder's insistence he can continue to play and intend to purchase the contract of veteran outfielder Kevin Mench to take his roster spot.
Morgan, who was out of the Nats' lineup for the second straight game, underwent an MRI yesterday after complaining of a "sharp pain" in the hip while doing routine physical activities like jogging. The MRI revealed only inflammation, according to the club's training staff, but the team elected to place him on the DL (retroactive to yesterday) anyways.
"It [freaking] sucks," Morgan said. "I feel fine. But, whatever."
With Morgan sidelined at least two weeks, manager Jim Riggleman said he's likely to use Roger Bernadina in center field and Michael Morse in right field the majority of the time.
The Nationals didn't announce any corresponding move after the game, but they did announce right-hander J.D. Martin (lower back) has been transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL, essentially ending his season. The significance of that transaction is that it paves the way for the Nats to promote someone who is not currently on the 40-man roster.
That eliminated newly acquired catcher Wilson Ramos, who is expected to join the big-league club by September at the latest. Riggleman said a third catcher is not necessary right now.
"Whatever move we make will probably be more oriented to a bat off the bench type of thing, more so than an outfielder," Riggleman said. "We don't really need an infielder. Willie [Harris] can come into the infield if needed, and we've got three middle infielders. We'll probably give some thought to a bat."
The Nationals will purchase Mench's contract from Class AAA Syracuse, according to a source familiar with the roster move. The 32-year-old outfielder was hitting .246 with three homers and 40 RBI in 86 games but has considerable big-league experience. In 702 career games with the Rangers, Brewers and Blue Jays, he owns a .269 average, 89 homers and 330 RBI.
Mench hasn't played in the majors since 2008 with Toronto. He spent last season playing in Japan before returning to the United States upon signing a minor-league contract with the Nationals this spring.