Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nats pessimistic Morse will start season

US Presswire photo
Michael Morse has appeared in only three games this spring, all as DH.
JUPITER, Fla. -- Michael Morse's chances of recovering from a lat injury in time for Opening Day appear to be dwindling after the Nationals left fielder recently underwent a platelet-rich plasma treatment that typically does not produce full results for several weeks.

Manager Davey Johnson said this morning it's not yet known when Morse will be ready to play but suggested his chances of being in the lineup by April 5 are less than good.

"He's probably more of a candidate to not open the season," Johnson said before the Nationals' exhibition game against the Cardinals.

Johnson also said he believes Morse recently received platelet-rich plasma treatment, a relatively new procedure also referred to as "blood spinning," in which blood plasma is removed from the body, injected with extra platelets to help the body heal faster and then re-injected into the patient. Yankees star Alex Rodriguez underwent the procedure last winter in Europe, and Orioles pitcher Zach Britton recently had it as well.

Despite some initial questions about the validity of the treatment and whether it could be considered performance enhancing, the World Anti-Doping Agency last year removed it from its list of banned drugs and treatments.

"It just gets in there and helps the healing," Johnson said. "That's kind of a new science, as far as I know."

Morse has appeared in only three games this spring, none since March 13, serving as designated hitter in all of them. He's yet to play in the field, and he's currently not cleared to perform any baseball activities.

That said, Morse insists his right shoulder and back feel fine and he's just waiting to receive the green light to resume play.

"The fact he feels fine, the fact that he doesn't feel the discomfort, that's good," Johnson said. "I always like to know how the player feels. That's a good sign."

Johnson referred to Morse's injury as a "small tear," which technically is the same as a strain. Morse received a cortisone shot earlier in the month before returning to DH in back-to-back games March 12-13.

If Morse is unable to open the season, Johnson said Mark DeRosa and perhaps Steve Lombardozzi are likely to receive playing time in left field. Morse's spot on the 25-man roster could be filled by one of several outfielders trying to make the club this spring: Roger Bernadina, Brett Carroll and Jason Michaels.

Xavier Nady, signed to a minor-league contract last week, could be an option at some point but the veteran outfielder/first baseman was just due to play in his first minor-league game today.

Though they have bodies in-house to replace Morse on the roster, the Nationals will have a difficult time replacing the slugger's production. He led the club last season with a .303 average, 31 homers and 95 RBI.

"It's my cleanup hitter," Johnson said. "But we're not going to push that to where we exacerbate it. This just gives an opportunity to somebody else. ... I think [GM] Mike Rizzo did an outstanding job with the acquisitions and the winter he had. I have a lot of good options, and everybody has to be able to sustain injuries. We're not the only ones who have to look at it."

Meanwhile, Johnson said closer Drew Storen experienced some "small discomfort" while playing catch yesterday and will receive further tests. Storen missed time earlier this spring with soreness in his biceps and triceps.

First baseman Adam LaRoche (bone bruise in heel) and right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (hamstring strain) also are currently sidelined.

"We're going to be overly cautious on everybody, because it's spring training," Johnson said. "I think in all those guys, I think they're close as far as timing-wise, conditioning-wise, to play. But we just can't take a chance on pushing anybody this time of year."

42 comments:

Cease the Opportunity said...

Big surprise!

MicheleS said...

Face Smack! geesh, I feel like someone is sticking wheat germ (yuk - tastes like your lawn) in my Koolaid.

Anonymous said...

Get the hell off my wheat germ!

Steve M. said...

Here we go again. An hour ago Amanda Comak wrote "He's [Morse]feeling very good and he's just waiting for the green light".

That seem to be an optimistic portrayal and now you got this that seems like we won't see Morse for a while + the Storen news changed dramatically.

Cease the Opportunity said...

MicheleS said...

Knock off the Koolaid and meet my friends, Al, Co, and Hol...

Anonymous said...

This is bad, but there's opportuntiy all around us. Lombo might be the opening day LF and that would allow him to lead-off or maybe bat in the 2 hole. The Nats have Zim, LaRoche, Werth to knock guys in so Morse being out, though painful, is not the end of the world. They really need production from the 1 and 2 spots and as much as the club talks up Desi and Espi, neither guy looks very good right now (nor do they have great history) for those roles. We'll see.

dfh21

Section 222 said...

Wait, LaRoche now has a bone bruise in the heel? I thought he was nursing a sprained ankle.

Well, at least one person thinks that with respect to the outfield and the bench "Mike Rizzo did an outstanding job with the acquisitions and the winter he had."

JamesFan said...

MM was the heart of the Nats' offense last year. Now,there is a real question about where the offense to support this pitiching rotation is going to come from? This puts even more pressure on Zim, Werth, Espi, Desi and Ramos. LaRoche, even if healthy, is a notorious slow starter. Maybe DeRosa can help. Tyler Moore get ready.

natsfan1a said...

Le Sigh.

NatsLady said...

222, yeah, but that one person is Davey. What you expect him to say?

Cease the Opportunity said...

Cue the the theme to the Natural. I'm suiting up. Just know that I can't hit, run, or catch...

Bowdenball said...

And now we start to see why all those win total projections that Mark and others did that figured us for 90 wins based on individual player WAR calculations compared to last season were a little too optimistic. This sort of thing happens to every team every season, and you have to build that in to your projections. Last year it was Zimmerman, Werth and Strasburg, this year it might be Morse or any of the other 10-15 guys we rely on heavily.

MicheleS said...

Cease. I save those friends for the Regular Season..Bourbon and the Maalox chaser.

NatsLady said...

I hope Werth has learned from last year not to give in to the "pressure."

Just go ahead and be grumpy and take first pitch strikes if ya wanna, Jayson, and have a good year.

The Great Unwashed said...

The way this team disseminates information regarding injuries is reminiscent of Baghdad Bob: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrXhxmQJSS0

NatsLady said...

Some Cubs humor for ya:

Q: What do the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins have in common?

A: Neither one has won a World Series in their new stadium.

MicheleS said...

NatsLady.. you were a White Sox fan.. right?

(grumbling, angry, bitter cubs fan here)

NatsLady said...

MicheleS--yes. But my Gramps was a Cubs fan. Had a good time at Wrigley last year, fell in love with CMW.

ChicagoNatsGirl said...

I had a platelet rich plasma injection on my foot last summer for a ligament tear (funny that a 42-year-old lawyer, mother of 2 and recretional runner gets the same treatment as professional athletes--perhaps my doctor just really wanted to do one of these). It worked like a charm in that I'm all better now, but it did take about 4 months to feel all better. Obviously, much longer than we have to spare with Morse. Then again, feet may take longer than lats because you don't have to walk on your lat. So fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

And now we know why Mark wasn't his usual posting self because he was getting these medical reports.. bummer

Concerned Nationals Fan said...

If any Nationals personnel are listening. Do some research on this, and then purchase it. Marine Phytoplankton. LaRoche and Morse will heal within a week, and all of the pitcher will not have to ice down again after pitching.

NatsNut said...

Well, technically Morse was out all of last April too when his production dive-bombed and look what we still got out of him for the year.

Also comforting (I guess) is that almost every other team has some key piece injured too.

Steady Eddie said...

Tyler Moore, Tyler Moore, riding through the glen....
(think he can try LF?)

Anonymous said...

Crapbag, this is no good. I think we can get along OK without Adam LaR-ouch and Drew Sore-en, but loosing going without Morse would hurt. Who is gonna give our awesome starters their run support?

Anonymous said...

ChicagoNatsGirl,

Just curious. Can you tell us how the procedure was done?

JaneB said...

I was also noting that Morse was posting much these days. I want him to mend fast, and not have him be like Zimm was at the start last year: sub-par and then GONE. Heal, Michael! Heal!

Gardner said...

Here's to a ton of 2-1 and 3-2 games

Wally said...

Well, this is a downer. Not sure which is worse, high probability Morse misses the first month, or Storen having lingering discomfort, which means who knows what. Not sure what to make of things when dfh21 is the upbeat one.

Well, many of us have been griping about the lack of attention paid to the OF and bench guys for most of the winter, and I have accepted the 'there is still time' response, but we are running low on that one now. I would really like to see Rizzo add somebody. I recognize that with the Harper experiment, he isn't going to go for someone big and established, so we have to think 2d tier. I'd make a run at Marlon Byrd - he isn't great, but he could be a good fill in/4th OF for the entire year. Other than service time considerations, I think Theo would appreciate the salary relief and the chance to play Brett Jackson. And, even though he is subpar in the OF now, I'd give some thought to Johnny Damon.

Lastly, they ought to make a run at Maicer Izturis. He doesn't really have a position with LAA, and their payroll is enormous. He can also play SS, if needed.

Section 222 said...

Kudos to NatsNut for not pulling out a quote from her comments several weeks ago and saying "I told you so." I believe she was the first to express concern that Morse's injury might not be as minor as initially reported.

Mr. Doggett said...

I agree we need more bats in the worst way. No matter how good the pitching staff is, losing games 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 can be so frustrating to the whole team. I think sacrificing a little defense for someone with pop is the way to go.

Clip&Store said...

"Drew Storen to undergo Tommy John surgery with Dr. James Andrews"

I can sadly see that cocming already

Avar said...

Storen sounds like he'll miss time. You don't have "lingering soreness" and then pitch in a week. But the bullpen is pretty deep and doesn't contribute all that many wins anyway.

I predicted Morse would repeat his 3.5 WAR from last year. But, I think DeRosa and Lombo can probably perform at 1.5 WAR level, maybe better. So, even if he misses all year, it's only two wins. If it's half the season, it's still only one win. If it's a month, it's not really noticed. At least by my predictions.

Lenghty injuries to Zimm or Stras would be hardest to replace based on my analysis.

NatsBrat said...

The purpose to the Nats' initial PR responses to our players medical status is just that---PR!!!!!

RPrecupjr said...

ChiNats Girl--

The other reason it probably took four months for you is that it was for a ligament tear, which is much more significant of an injury than a small muscle tear. We've all had small muscle tears, but I'm hoping most of you have never experienced a ligament tear. I've torn both my MCL and ACL, the latter having to be reconstructed. It is no fun at all, lemme tell ya.

Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy my koolaid. And, send that Cubs joke (nod to NatsLady) to my long-suffering father, who was three years old the last time the Cubs were even IN the WS.

Drew said...

A.A. Milne's little-known book about the Nats: "The House at Poo Corners"

Natsfly said...

Came down here to sunny florida to enjoy watching my favorite team in person. Pitching has been good (well, I am not at today's game) but hitting has been pretty lame and it doesn't look to improve anytime soon. Sadness.

Anonymous said...

Steady Eddie if LaRoche can't go there's a chance you'll see Tyler Moore at first base. Apparently the FO has issued an edict that he (according to Byron Kerr) is going to play him almost exclusive at first in Syracuse. That pretty much tells me Davey wants him there in the majors.

I see no problem with DeRosa and Lombardozzi in the outfield. The problem is this will be an even weaker hitting club offensively. They almost have to have Tyler Moore in there without Morse. If Moore, Harper, Brown, et al are smart they will all get together and work on hitting strategies to tear up the International League early.

ChicagoNats Girl said...

To the Anon at 1:05 pm who wanted to know how platelet rich plasma injections are done--at least on me, they took some blood, spun it in a centrifuge, put it into hypodermic needles (3 syringes full), numbed my foot/toe at the injection point and then injected all three syringes full of my blood into my foot. Then I went home feeling peachy, then the anesthesia wore off, then not so peachy. Had to wear a surgical boot, then a brace. Now, 9 months later, I'm fine and my running mileage is back up to around 10 miles (pretty good given that I was completely forbidden to run until December). Believe me--I made plenty of jokes about being on the DL. :)

Anonymous said...

Let me remind all of you that Laroche's season ending injury last season started with a "small tear" that was no big deal. The Morse story keeps unraveling like a cheap suit.

NatsFanJim said...

LaRoche just can't get healthy - what happened to his ankle? When did this brittle player get the bone spur? And Morse ... that sounded bad from the get go -- now we're admitting a "a tear' ?? Not goodf. It's all interesting. I've never seen such runaway euphoric optimism as this year -- and I've been waiting for some Karma to kick in.

Anonymous said...

I said last year as a baseball player with a torn rotator cuff and surgery, LaRoche's deal was underhyped by the FO for a reason. You CANNOT rest your way through a RC/SLAP tear. I worry the same this year about the spin. Ticket sales folks! If fans think players like the Beast are not going to be in the lineup, their fannies are not going to be in the seats.

Anonymous said...

The medical definition of a minor sprain IS a small tear in the muscle. Nothing unusual about that at all. That is exactly what a minor sprain entails. Morse may miss a few games, but he won't be out all of April. Stop panicking, folks.

Post a Comment