Associated Press photo
Michael Morse left tonight's game after getting hit in the right hand.
PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals were breathing a sigh of relief following tonight's series finale against the Phillies after X-rays taken of Michael Morse's right hand came back negative, and the cleanup hitter was diagnosed with only a bad bruise after getting hit by a pitch in the first inning.
Morse was in serious pain after taking Kyle Kendrick's changeup off the outside of his right hand, dropping to a knee and grimacing as trainer Mike McGowan took off his batting glove and examined him.
"Any time you get hit in the hands, it's kind of nerve-wracking," he said. "But, you know, X-rays came out negative and stuff, so I should be all right."
Though they were relieved to know their No. 4 hitter isn't seriously injured, the Nationals don't expect Morse back in the lineup for at least a day or two. He hadn't tried to grip a bat yet shortly after the game ended.
"He's got a bad bruise," manager Davey Johnson said. "But hopefully he'll be all right in a few short days."
Morse missed the first two months of the season with a torn lat muscle, an injury that was initially supposed to sideline him only a couple of days. In 72 games since, his return the 30-year-old outfielder is hitting .286 with 12 homers, 45 RBI and a .459 slugging percentage.
Unlike that spring training injury, Morse is cautiously optimistic he'll be able to return in short order.
"Yeah, I'm hoping this time, not like last time," he said.
Roger Bernadina took over Morse's spot in the lineup and in left field. If Morse needs to miss any time, Johnson would probably use a combination of Bernadina, Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore in left field.