PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Michael Morse had a sonogram on Wednesday to see if his right lat (back) muscle has improved.
According to manager Davey Johnson, the sonogram showed that the muscle has healed, and Morse will start doing baseball activities starting Thursday.
"So it looks like we are not having a baby," manager Davey Johnson joked.
"It looked great," Johnson continued. "That was the best news I had had. They came to me right at the end of batting practice. The sonogram showed that the tear has flattened out and healed."
Asked if Morse would start the season on the Opening Day roster, Johnson said, "I'm not going to be that optimistic. I was more concerned because he threw 60 to 90 feet. I was more concerned about the results in the sonogram."
Johnson also said that reliever Drew Storen will more than likely start the season on the 15-day disabled list, and the skipper is hoping that his closer will return to action in mid-April.
Storen had an MRI on his right elbow recently, and it revealed no structural damage. However, Storen has not pitched since March 7 because of normal soreness in his elbow and because of a bout of strep throat.
"Maybe I'm being overly hopeful, but I like to be positive. Positive things are going to happen. ... I'm going to make sure everything he does, every mound session, comes out OK," Johnson said about Storen.
With Storen likely out of the picture to start the season, Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge will split the closer duties.
Adam LaRoche ran the bases on the Minor League field on Wednesday and didn't have any problems with his left foot. Johnson said LaRoche has been cleared to play, but the skipper may give LaRoche the day off and let him start Friday against the Marlins.
If LaRoche plays on Thursday against the Braves, he will most likely gets two at-bats.