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Michael Morse hopes to resume baseball activities soon.
"I feel good about him Opening Day," general manager Mike Rizzo said following today's exhibition game against the Astros. "And if not Opening Day, soon thereafter."
Morse expressed the same optimism this morning before going through conditioning drills at Space Coast Stadium.
"I feel good," he said. "I feel great."
Morse has been instructed by the Nationals not to discuss the PRP treatment, but he displayed a full range of motion of his right shoulder and offered no reason to believe he's experiencing any pain around his strained lat muscle.
At this point, the 30-year-old left fielder is simply waiting for doctors to give him the green light to resume throwing and hitting, an order that should come within the next few days.
Rizzo did officially confirm Morse under the PRP treatment, in which blood is drawn from the patient and spun to extract concentrated platelets. Those platelets are then re-injected into the injured muscle in an attempt to speed up the healing process.
The World Anti-Doping Agency ruled last year that PRP treatment is not considered performance enhancing and thus is not banned. Fellow major leaguers Alex Rodriguez and Zach Britton have recently received similar treatments.
Once cleared to resume baseball activities, Morse will need to get at-bats and defensive reps in short order before camp breaks on April 2. He expressed confidence this morning that he won't need much time to get himself ready to face big-league pitching.
If the Nationals are forced to open the season without Morse, manager Davey Johnson is expected to use a combination of Mark DeRosa, Roger Bernadina and Steve Lombardozzi in left field. Jayson Werth would likely take Morse's cleanup spot in the batting order.
In other injury news...
-- Adam LaRoche got at-bats in a minor-league game today, though he did not run the bases. Rizzo believes the veteran first baseman will be ready to rejoin the lineup early next week and should be ready for Opening Day.
-- Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang performed some agility drills and played catch this morning in Viera, though his strained hamstring is not expected to heal in time for him to open the season as the Nationals' No. 5 starter.
-- Bernadina had to depart today's game in the third inning with a swollen right big toe. Bernadina fouled a ball off the toe yesterday in Jupiter. The injury isn't considered serious, but Johnson plans to hold the outfielder back from tomorrow's trip to Sarasota.