Results tagged ‘ Michael Morse ’

Q&A with Orioles outfielder Michael Morse

Michael Morse was known as “The Beast,” and what a player he was when he wore a Nationals uniform. He was one of the big reasons they won the National League East title in 2012.

After coming back from a lat muscle strain last season, Morse made up for lost time by hitting .291 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs in 102 games. He even played in the postseason with a hamstring injury, and managed to hit a home run and collect five hits against the Cardinals in the NL Division Series.   

After the season ended, the Nationals traded Morse to the Athletics for pitching prospects, including A.J. Cole and Ian Krol. Oakland then swapped Morse to the Mariners for catcher John Jaso.

After having a tough season in Seattle, Morse was dealt to the Orioles this weekend. His job is to provide power to an already formidable lineup.             

MLB.com caught up with Morse at Yankee Stadium on Sunday to talk about his trade to the Orioles and the possibility of returning to the Nationals. 

MLB.com: What do you think of your season so far? You have been with the Orioles for two days.

Michael Morse: For a guy who was hitting .220, getting an opportunity to come to a team like this is special. I’m getting a shot at getting to the postseason with a great ballclub. These guys have so much potential. They have so much swagger. It’s going to be fun and very special here.

MLB.com: When did you know that you were going to be traded?

Morse: The way the Mariners were going, I knew it was going to work out [as far as going to a contender]. There was always speculation, I might be getting traded here and there at the Deadline. When this trade happened, I was very excited. There isn’t another place I want to go to.

MLB.com: You will be a free agent after the season. Do you want to stay with the Orioles?

Morse: It’s too early to think about stuff like that. The one and only goal right now is help this team get to the postseason.

MLB.com: Starting Thursday, you will play in Camden Yards, a ballpark that suits Michael Morse.

Morse: It absolutely does. My main thing is, just fit in with the team, have fun like I always do and help them with their push.

MLB.com: Let’s talk about the Nationals. How surprised are you that they have been inconsistent this year?

Morse: Baseball is a funny game. You look at what Jayson Werth is doing. He is having a great year. Ian Desmond is also having a great year. These are guys I talk to almost on a daily basis. I still have a close-knit relationship with a lot of guys on that team.

What we had last year was special. I hope to get it back. I feel like you have something like that, you have to go for it.

MLB.com: What do you think the problem is with the Nationals?

Morse: I really don’t know. Like I said, baseball is a funny game. It looks like Atlanta has been pretty good all year.

MLB.com: A lot of Nationals fans would like to see you come back. Would you like to come back and play for the Nationals?

Morse: For me, the door is always open. D.C. is a special place. The Nationals gave me my first big break and I have a lot of memories there.

MLB.com: What made that 2012 team so special?

Morse: We knew we were good. How good? We didn’t know until the season kept going. We had one goal: get to the postseason and win the World Series. We all had each other’s back. That’s what good teams do. When you have a close knit family like that, special things started to happen. Not only did we win games, we were having fun — on and off the field. We were all together. It was sad when I had to leave, but baseball is baseball. That’s what happens.

MLB.com: I heard you cried after the Cardinals defeated the Nationals in the National League Division Series.

Morse: It was tough. I remember in the locker room, sitting there — no one moved for quite a long time. It was one of those surreal moments where the season is over and we didn’t think it was. We thought we had batting practice the next day, but literally, that was it. I think we were not ready [to call it a season].

MLB.com:  The song “Take On Me” by Aha is popular during the seventh inning at Nationals Park.  That used to be your walkup song to the plate. What is your reaction that the song is still popular in D.C.?

Morse: That says a lot about the fans in D.C. I think it’s great. I wouldn’t want them any other way. I love the fact that the song still makes them happy.

MLB.com:  Do you think the Nationals miss you?

Morse: It’s tough to say. I surely miss them, the players. Like I said, we were a close knit group. We keep in touch. Maybe down the stretch here, who knows, we might be playing against them [in the postseason].

Game 128: Nationals at Marlins

Adam Berry here in Miami, once again pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

Some quick news and notes before the first pitch from Marlins Park…

-GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson set the record straight about their vocal postgame meeting following Sunday’s 4-1 loss in Philadelphia. In short: It wasn’t a big deal, and there are no hard feelings.

Johnson proved that as soon as the two sat down in the visiting dugout at Marlins Park. Rizzo sat beside Johnson during his usual pregame meeting with the media, and Johnson immediately put his boss in a headlock and laughed. This came two days after Johnson was overheard shouting, “You come down and manage the team,” at Rizzo inside his office.

“It’s normal business as usual,” Johnson said.

-The full lineups are below, but you’ll notice Michael Morse and Ian Desmond are both starting. If you missed it after the Nats’ fourth straight loss Sunday, there was some talk about how playing short-handed contributed to their recent offensive struggles. They’ve scored all of six runs during their current losing streak.

“We’ve been down a man or two, mostly a man, most of the year,” Johnson said. “But down two, that’s affecting what you can do.”

-Johnson said to only expect three call-ups on Sept. 1: Mark DeRosa, who will be activated from the disabled list; a third catcher; and someone who can pinch run.

-Speaking of call-ups, Johnson said John Lannan, recently named International League Pitcher of the Week, will make one more start for Triple-A Syracuse on Sept. 3 then join the Nats. Of greater interest, considering all the national attention on Stephen Strasburg’s shutdown, is what Johnson had to say about the timing of Lannan’s promotion.

“I think it’s going to pretty much coincide fairly close with Stephen, when he’s shut down,” Johnson said. “I think the timing, he’s lined up almost the same day, so he may have to miss a start.”

As for tonight’s lineups…

Marlins (58-71)
Bryan Petersen LF
Justin Ruggiano CF
Jose Reyes SS
Carlos Lee 1B
Giancarlo Stanton RF
Greg Dobbs 3B
Donovan Solano 2B
Rob Brantly C
Ricky Nolasco RHP

Nationals (77-50)
Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse LF
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Stephen Strasburg RHP

Morse catches up with media, talks about grand slam

Nationals outfielder Michael Morse caught up with the media Saturday and talked about his grand slam that helped defeat the Mets, 6-4, on Friday at Nationals Park.

The Nationals were behind, 2-0, and without a hit against Mets left-hander Johan Santana after three innings. But that changed by the fourth inning.

Santana allowed three consecutive singles up the middle to Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman. Morse came to the plate and hit a 1-1 pitch over the right-field wall for a grand slam, the third of his career. A curtain call was in order, and Morse gave the fans what they wanted. He raised his arms and gave two fist pumps.

“Santana had great control of his fastball and his change up,” Morse said via text message. “He was pounding me in with his fastball and I was looking for something over the plate to drive. I got a fastball up and I got a good swing on it. It was a great inning Jayson started and got us going.”

Considering that he missed the first two months of the season because of a lat strain, Morse has put up some nice numbers, hitting .300 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs.

Game 117: Nationals at Giants

Adam Berry here on the shores of McCovey Cove, pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

A few quick updates from AT&T Park…

-The Nationals have a potential return date set for shortstop Ian Desmond, and it’s a bit sooner than expected. Washington’s All-Star shortstop will be activated for Friday’s series opener against the Mets, provided he gets through his full pregame workouts Tuesday and Wednesday and a simulated game Thursday without incident.

“I plan on, unless Mike Rizzo ties my hand behind my back, activating him. So I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” Nats manager Davey Johnson said. “He’s a horse. I want him back. We all want him back.”

-Jayson Werth is back in the Nats’ starting lineup. Werth reported to AT&T Park with his right ankle feeling much better than it did yesterday, when he was a late scratch from the lineup.

-Michael Morse, meanwhile, was held out of the lineup with a jammed right thumb, which caused him to leave last night’s game early. Johnson hoped to have him back for Wednesday’s series finale, assuming he’s in full health by then, but mentioned that he might not return until Friday.

-Desmond’s sim game on Thursday will be pitched by Chien-Ming Wang, who was recently pulled off his rehab assignment. If he looks fine there, Wang will “more than likely” restart his rehab assignment, Johnson said.

-Speaking of players who will likely join the Nats roster in September, Johnson said Anthony Rendon, promoted earlier today to Double-A Harrisburg, could be a candidate to be called up once the active rosters expand.

“He might be. We’ll see how he finishes up,” Johnson said. “This is the year of the young guys all around baseball, and he’s another one right in that mold.”

As for tonight’s lineups…

Nationals (72-44)
Danny Espinosa SS
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Jayson Werth RF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Tyler Moore LF
Jesus Flores C
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Jordan Zimmermann RHP

Giants (63-53)
Angel Pagan CF
Marco Scutaro 2B
Melky Cabrera LF
Buster Posey C
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt 1B
Brandon Crawford SS
Madison Bumgarner LHP

Game 113: Nationals at D-backs

Adam Berry here, pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

-It’s 112 degrees in Phoenix right now, but the good news is it only feels like 108.

(OK, the actual good news is that the roof is closed here at Chase Field.)

-In case you missed the news earlier, the Nationals no longer own the longest hitting streak in the Majors. Michael Morse started the day on an 18-game streak, but the league ruled Friday afternoon that the single he recorded on Aug. 2 against the Phillies was actually an error by Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

So instead of an 18-gamer, Morse entered Friday’s series opener against Arizona with a seven-game hitting streak. It’s no longer the longest such streak of his career, either. That’s back to 11 games, a mark he set last year.

-In other news, Bryce Harper is back in the lineup after sitting out Thursday’s series finale in Houston. You can read all about what he had to say yesterday here.

Here are the full lineups for tonight…

Nationals (69-43)
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse LF
Jayson Werth RF
Danny Espinosa SS
Kurt Suzuki C
Stephen Strasburg RHP

D-backs (57-55)
Stephen Drew SS
Aaron Hill 2B
Jason Kubel LF
Paul Goldschmidt 1B
Justin Upton RF
Miguel Montero C
Chris Johnson 3B
Gerardo Parra CF
Trevor Cahill RHP

Morse pleased to be back with Nats

After missing two months of the 2012 season because of a torn left lat muscle, Nationals right fielder Michael Morse made his season debut in a 2-0 victory over the Braves on Saturday afternoon, going 0-for-4. All four outs were groundouts to Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

“Every at-bat, I felt more comfortable,” Morse said. “First at-bat, I felt kind of a little jumpy, so I tried to slow it down during the next at-bat. By the last at-bat, I felt where I should be.”

The highlight of the day for Morse came in the first inning when he received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 41,042 at Nationals Park.

“I’ll say that is one of the coolest things [that ever happened to me],” Morse said. “It gave me goose bumps. That tells you about the fans that we have here. It was a great little moment there I had. I appreciate the fans for all their support and everything.”

Injury reports on Morse, LaRoche, Ankiel

Nationals outfielder Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche are not expected to play in a Major League exhibition game for at least a week.

Morse, who has played just three game during the exhibition season, has a strained right lat [back] muscle. While he can swing a bat, he is not allowed to throw the baseball. Morse believes he will be ready for Opening Day.

As for LaRoche, he had an MRI recently and it revealed he has a bone bruise and cartilage sprain in his left foot. LaRoche is having problems running the bases. He, too, believes he will be ready for Opening Day.

“I really feel this is going to be put behind [me] shortly,” LaRoche said. “I’m going to give it a few days, go back to Minor League side, get a bunch of at-bats, where I don’t have to run the bases. As long as I’m seeing some pitches — I don’t care if it’s coming out of an 18-year old’s hand — I don’t want to fall a week behind as far as seeing live pitching.”

Outfielder Rick Ankiel had a full workout in front of manager Davey Johnson on Saturday and is expected to return to action Tuesday against the Mets. Ankiel has not played since March 9 because of a tight left hamstring.

Nats’ Morse, Ankiel, LaRoche still hurting

Nationals outfielders Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel and first baseman Adam LaRoche are not allowed to play in Major League exhibition games because of injuries, but they can still get at-bats on the Minor League field, according to manager Davey Johnson.

LaRoche continues to have a left foot problem and feels pain when he runs the bases. LaRoche hurt the foot while doing a baserunning drill last month.

Morse recently had an MRI and it revealed that he still has a strained right lat [back] muscle. Morse, who has played three exhibition games, can still swing a bat, but he can’t throw the baseball.

Ankiel continues to have left hamstring issues and has not played since March 9 against the Marlins.

Like with outfielder Bryce Harper earlier this week, Ankiel, Morse and Ankiel must work out in front of Johnson in order to play in an exhibition game.

“For this time of year, I’m cautious,” Johnson said. “My conversation with the trainer today was, ‘Ankiel, Morse and LaRoche: Treatment here [Space Coast Stadium], they can hit over there [Minor League Field] under your supervision.’ I’m going to be on the cautious side. We got a ways to go. Those guys don’t have to prove anything to me. My main concern is getting them ready. It depends on how quickly they recover.”

Morse looking to play Monday vs. Cardinals

Nationals left fielder Michael Morse plans to return to action Monday as the designated hitter against the Cardinals at Space Coast Stadium.

Morse has missed the last eight games because of a right lat (back) strain. His biggest problem was throwing the baseball, but he was able to throw from 90 feet on Saturday.

However manager Davey Johnson seems to doubt that Morse can play, pointing out that Morse had a cortisone shot the same day he threw the baseball.

“Mikey Mo had a couple more shots. … Cortisone,” Johnson said. “He said he wanted to DH on Monday but I don’t see how. He’s probably going to be a little sore today because he had it done, I think, yesterday. We’ll see how he’s doing.”

Nats’ Morse likely to make position switch

Nationals first baseman Michael Morse continued his hot hitting during a 6-4 victory over the Reds on Tuesday night at Nationals Park. Morse went 2-for-4 against the Reds to raise his batting average to .323, which ranks third in the National League.

The first hit for Morse came in the first inning when he doubled to right field, scoring Rick Ankiel. Two innings later, Morse hit his 21st home run of the season, a solo shot over the right-field wall.

“He’s been really consistent all year,” manager Davey Johnson said. “Since I’ve been here, he really hasn’t had a bad game. He missed one day [after being hit by a pitch] and came back and hit ropes the next day. I don’t know where we’d be without him. He’s been awfully good.”

Although Morse has done an above average job at first base, Johnson said he will put Morse back in left field before the season comes to an end. Morse is expected to be a corner outfielder in 2012 once first baseman Adam LaRoche returns to the lineup. LaRoche has missed most of this season because of shoulder problems.

“I’m thinking at some point in time this season I might move him back [to left field],” Johnson said. “Ideally, when LaRoche comes back, we’ll have LaRoche at first and probably Morse in left field. We’re going to have Morse somewhere every day.”

Morse doesn’t care where he plays. He said starting his professional career as a shortstop has made him adapt to other positions.

“I don’t mind it. I look at the lineup and whatever it says, I play,” Morse said. “I think playing shortstop has helped me adjust at any position. I like the infield. I’ve always liked the infield, but if I’m in the outfield, I’m in the outfield. If I’m catching, I’m catching.”

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