Results tagged ‘ Michael Morse ’
Nationals first baseman Michael Morse, who has missed the last three games because of a sore left elbow after being hit by a pitch Saturday against the Pirates, is expected to be back in the lineup Wednesday night against the Cubs.
Morse was able to take batting and fielding practice without any problems before Tuesday’s game. He is available to pinch hit that same day.
“When a guy tells me he can play and works out, I usually give them one more day. He wants to play,” Johnson said.
With Morse out of the lineup, outfielder Laynce Nix was able to get his first start at first base. On Monday, Nix played his first Major League at first since he was in high school because Matt Stairs hurt his knee while trying to catch foul ball in the stands.
Michael Morse was arguably the Nationals’ Spring Training Most Valuable Player, hitting .364 with a team-leading nine home runs and 18 RBIs.
For his work with the bat, Morse was named Washington’s starting left fielder and he vows his hitting will carry over into the regular season.
He gets to prove his worth when he faces Braves right-hander Derek Lowe on Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park. Game time is at 1:05 p.m. ET. It will be the first time Morse gets to start on Opening Day. He will bat fifth in the lineup.
“I’m not going to change anything. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m going to keep playing the game that I play,” Morse said. “I would say the biggest key [to success] is knowing me and knowing the way I play and hit. I have good enough teammates around me that will notice that if I put too much pressure on myself, they will bring me right back down.”
Entering Thursday, the Nationals had 10 players who were eligible for salary arbitration. Five of them — pitchers Sean Burnett, John Lannan and Doug Slaten and outfielders Michael Morse, and Josh Willingham — were tendered contracts, while catcher Jesus Flores and infielder Alberto Gonzalez agreed to terms on new deals. However, catcher Wil Nieves and right-handers Joel Peralta and Chien-Ming Wang became free agents.
Letting Nieves and Wang walk was not a surprise, for the Nationals are loaded with catchers, which made Nieves expendable, and Wang pitched in 24 games in the past three seasons.
However, letting Peralta get away was a surprise. Peralta had the best season of his career, posting a 2.02 ERA in 39 games. He allowed one run in his final 15 innings. General manager Mike Rizzo wasn’t available for comment.
Terms were not disclosed on Gonzalez and Flores. Gonzalez is a valuable player off the bench, but his attitude must change when it comes to playing time. He was often upset when taken out of games.
Flores enters the 2011 season as the No. 3 catcher. It didn’t help that he missed most of the past two years because of a right shoulder injury. The Nationals haven’t ruled out Flores starting next season in the Minor Leagues.
Burnett, Lannan, Morse, Slaten and Willingham will have a hearing sometime in February unless they agree to terms with the club.
Of the five players, Willingham appears to the one person who could be traded before the 2011 season gets underway. Willingham is a free agent after the ’11 season and it is believed the Nationals want young players in return for the right-handed hitting slugger.