Michael Morse was walking through the hallway at Nationals Park in good spirits this afternoon, joking to the media that he was on his way to “hang out with the Orioles.”
The injured outfielder has every reason to be positive these days considering his strained lat apparently is healing well enough that Manager Davey Johnson confirmed that the plan is to have Morse travel to Viera, Fla., on Monday when the Nationals begin a nine-game road trip.
Once there, Morse is scheduled to get at-bats and continue to work on his throwing at the Nationals minor league headquarters and be activated perhaps within two weeks.
The original target date was June 8, but Johnson appeared optimisitic he could be with the Nationals even sooner.
“I know he’s chomping at the bit,” Johnson said. “I was going through the training room today, and he was bouncing a basketball. He was looking for something [the medical staff] would let him do.”
Morse hit off a batting tee today, another indication he’s closer to being back in the lineup that hasn’t been whole for much of the entire season. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, for instance, missed considerable time earlier this season, and starting catcher Wilson Ramos is out for the season with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament.
Morse was initially injured during spring training. He then aggravated the injury futher during a rehab assignment in April, at which time GM Mike Rizzo mandated a month and a half away from baseball-related activity.
Morse most likely would require a rehab assignment at an affiliate before coming back to the big leagues.
“Once [Morse] can swing and throw from the outfield, I think very shortly after that he could go anywhere and play,” Johnson said. “Certainly DH and play left field.”