Updated at 9:20 p.m.:
The Nationals received a scare today when first baseman Michael Morse left the team’s 4-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs after getting hit by a pitch and went to an area hospital for X-rays on his left elbow.
Morse’s X-rays were negative and the Nationals consider him day-to-day, a team spokesman said. Morse traveled to Philadelphia with the team and is “fine” despite a contusion above his left elbow, according to the spokesman.
“I’m worried,” Manager Davey Johnson said before the X-ray results were known. “He’s got huge arms, and the muscle is well-protected. But he was in bad shape.”
In the seventh inning, Cubs starter Ryan Dempster drilled Morse with a 91-mph fastball in the left elbow-triceps area. Morse hopped down the first base line and doubled over when he reached the bag. After a trainer came on to the field to check on Morse, he walked into the dugout holding his arm in an ‘L’ shape.
“It got him right on the bone,” Johnson said. “Usually, that will let up. But that one didn’t seem to let up. I’m hoping everything is going to be all right. I thought it was the funny bone, but it must have hit more than the funny bone, because the muscles in his arm were reacting erratically. We’re just going to keep our fingers crossed.”
Morse missed several games earlier this season after a pitch hit him in the forearm, leading to a massive bump and bruise. Dempster’s fastball appeared to hit Morse in a different area of his arm.
Morse, in his first season as a regular in the lineup, has emerged as one of the best sluggers in the National League.
Morse has been the Nationals’ best hitter this season, drilling 20 home runs and hitting .320 entering Thursday, the third-highest batting average in the NL. Since May 22, the day he took over the Nationals’ full-time first baseman, Morse has hit .342 with a .396 on-base percentage, a .629 slugging percentage, 18 home runs and 57 RBI.