Associated Press photo
Michael Morse winces after getting hit by a pitch in the left elbow.
CHICAGO -- Michael Morse was forced to depart Thursday's game against the Cubs when he was struck in the left elbow by a Ryan Dempster fastball, an injury that sent the Nationals first baseman to the hospital for X-rays and left manager Davey Johnson concerned.
"I've seen a lot of them. I've had a lot of them, too," Johnson said following the Nationals' 4-3 loss. "But his whole arm was shaking. It got him right on the bone. Usually, that will let up. But that one didn't seem to let up. I hope everything's going to be alright."
Because there are no X-ray machines at dated and cramped Wrigley Field, players have to be taken to a nearby hospital for tests. The Nationals hadn't received an update on Morse at game's conclusion; they also didn't know if he and head trainer Lee Kuntz would make it to the airport in time to join the team's charter flight to Philadelphia.
Dempster's seventh-inning fastball appeared to catch Morse square on the left elbow, and he immediately began writhing in pain. He slowly made his way to first base, where Johnson and trainer Mike McGowan greeted him for a closer look.
The ball may have struck just below the elbow, leaving the rest of Morse's arm in pain.
"I thought it was the funny bone, but it must have hit more than the funny bone, because the muscles in his arm were reacting kind of erratically," Johnson said. "We've just got to keep our fingers crossed."
Morse, who entered the day tied for third in the NL with a .319 batting average and leads the Nationals with 20 homers and 68 RBI, missed three games in early July after getting hit by a pitch on the same arm.
Johnson was asked after Wednesday's game if he's worried about his cleanup hitter.
"Yeah, I'm worried," the manager said. "Because normally, he's got huge arms and is well-protected. But he was in bad shape."