Michael Morse will return by June 8 ‘for sure,’ maybe sooner


(Greg Fiume/GETTY IMAGES)

Morse has been on the disabled list all season with a strained muscle underneath his right armpit that has prevented him from throwing with any strength. He recently ended a six-week “shutdown” period and has been performing baseball activities in Florida.

Manager Davey Johnson said Morse will “for sure” return by June 8, when the Nationals play in Fenway Park and Morse could serve as the designated hitter. He added, “some people are thinking it might be accelerated ahead of then.”

Morse, who hit 31 homers with a .910 slugging percentage last year, has been able to swing without issue. His ability to throw at full strength will determine whether he returns on June 8 as a DH or sooner, as an outfielder in a National League game.

“In Morse’s mind, he’s ready as soon as he plays in one game,” Johnson said. “His throwing is what aggravated his arm. I’m not much worried about his hitting, because he’s always thinking about hitting. I’m more worried about throwing. That could aggravate it.”

Morse had been penciled in as the Nationals’ cleanup hitter before the season. But with Adam LaRoche’s emergence as a potential all-star, Morse would likely bat fifth when he comes back. That would also allow the Nationals to keep a right-left-right mix to their order, with Bryce Harper having taken over in the second spot.

More from The Washington Post:

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Clippard gets first save of season.

Nats continue mastery of Phillies

Zimmerman will play Wednesday

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.

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