Friday, March 23, 2012

Nats still hoping for Morse on Opening Day

US Presswire photo
Michael Morse hopes to resume baseball activities soon.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Though Michael Morse has yet to appear in the field this spring and has yet to resume baseball activities after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection near his injured lat muscle, the Nationals still believe there's a chance their cleanup hitter could be in the starting lineup come Opening Day.

"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.


Tcostant said...

Sounds like last year when the Nats were hoping LaRoche would make it though the season. My optimism is turning...

Section 222 said...

"I feel good about him Opening Day," general manager Mike Rizzo said.

RSD (Rosy Scenario Disease) has infected all of them. Would it kill them to say, "we're hopeful that he'll be ready, but there's really no telling what will happen."? Or is saying that you feel good about his early return a way of deflecting possible criticism of your offseason failure to get much of an outfield bench?

Anonymous said...

"I feel good," he said. "I feel great."

Then why aren't you playing

Cwj said...

I'm much more worried about Morse than LaRoche.
Morse's bat is very much needed for the Nats to contend.
Not good if he misses more than a month of the regular season.

Cwj said...

Anon 4:28- because, as Mark said he's "waiting for doctors to give him the green light to resume throwing and hitting, an order that should come within the next few days."

The Nats are being cautious and that's good I think.

bdrube said...

I'm bringing this post of mine from an earlier thread over here because it is quite relevant:

One thing no one seems to mention with Morse is that one of the reasons he didn't have his break out season until age 29 is that he appears to have been very injury prone his whole career. In '08 he made the M's opening day roster, played 6 games and was out the rest of the year. In 2006 and 2007, he seems to have only played about half a season, split between the minors and the majors. And, of course, he missed about a month playing for us in 2010.

As far as health goes, last year appears to have been a aberration for him.

NatsNut said...

Hooray!! My Tickets came! (happy dance)

HHover said...


I don't think his overall injury history is really that excessive. has a helpful injury log for players. It doesn't appear Morse was injured in '06 and '07, but you're right about 08 and 10.

Still, missing basically a month over the last 3 years (09-11) hardly makes him a porcelain doll.

ehay2k said...

I would rather they take the cautious route with Morse and LaRoche then put them in there when they are not ready. Look what happened to LaRoche last year - he couldn't throw, but he played, clearly made the shoulder worse, and was done for the year. Would things have been better if he was on the DL to start the season, to give everything time to heal? Perhaps not, but in hindsight, it could not have possibly been the worse of the two options.

@NatsNut - my tickets are here too. I just hope they are for games where the starters are playing!

Section 222 said...

@NatsNut -- congrats. So what do you think of the pictures on the tickets? Not much creativity or variety as opposed to past years. Just Morse, Strasburg, Zim, and Werth. Over and over and over again.

hmmm... said...

did laroche "feel good, feel great" at the beginning of last year?

bdrube said...

@HHover - weird about 2006 & 2007 since he only played about a half a season's worth of games those two years.

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