Nursing a bone bruise and a slight tear in the sheath encasing his left wrist, Morse didn't even take batting practice Friday at Turner Field. He said he will report back to the park Saturday, go through treatment, see how he feels and determine the next step from there. But Morse didn't sound optimistic about getting back on the field this series, and neither did Washington manager Davey Johnson.
"I kind of knew it was being real optimistic that he could've been available [Friday]," Johnson said. "I think it's more likely next Tuesday, and he's still bothered by it.
There are plenty of reasons to play it safe with Morse. First, the Nationals have several capable backups itching for playing time in Roger Bernadina, who started Friday night, Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore. Second, there is no need to rush Morse back and risk making him worse, especially when he hasn't been able to hit for his usual power while dealing with the injury.
"He's got to come through a full workout before I even want to take a chance on him. I don't want to make it worse," Johnson said. "And we've got three guys champing at the bit who'd like some playing time while he's out. ... We're all right."
Finally -- and Johnson downplayed this side of it -- the Nationals have a healthy lead in the playoff race and could clinch a playoff spot as early as Saturday. A healthy Morse would be more valuable to Washington in the playoffs than a banged-up version would be right now.
"You don't want to run somebody out there that's hurt and that could hurt worse," Johnson said. "He's been nursing it for a month, and the results haven't been that great, either. He's been getting some hits, but he's not hitting with power."