Johnson likes Morse's presence in lineup

Johnson likes Morse's presence in lineup

Johnson likes Morse's presence in lineup
TORONTO -- Michael Morse was batting fifth and was the Nationals' designated hitter for Monday's series opener against the Blue Jays.

Monday marked the fourth consecutive game that Morse was the team's DH after starting all three games at the position during Washington's three-game set at Fenway Park in Boston this past weekend.

Morse played in just his 10th game this season after missing the first two months of the year recovering from an injured right lat muscle.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Morse provides the team some much-needed power, something especially vital to the club with veteran Jayson Werth sidelined.

"[Morse] still has a lot of respect around the league," Johnson said. "His presence in the lineup is a good presence. Him hitting in the middle of the lineup is a good boost to us."

Morse entered Monday's contest batting .188 with no homers and two RBIs, but Johnson chalked up the slow start to the amount of time that his slugger missed, and he believes Morse will be just fine as he gets more games under his belt.

"He's a good hitter, but for big, strong hitters, it usually takes them a little longer to get going and feel comfortable," Johnson said. "He had a good [batting practice] session today early."

The 30-year-old Morse had a career year in 2011, batting .303 with 31 home runs, 95 RBIs and a .910 OPS.