Updated at 9:35 p.m. with Bernadina being pulled from Class AAA game.
Both Rick Ankiel (sprained right wrist) and Michael Morse (right knee soreness) received MRI exams today at a doctor’s office in South Florida. Results have yet to return, but the Nationals believe Ankiel’s injury has a better chance to lead to a stint on the disabled list than Morse’s.
Ankiel has not played since Monday night, when he rolled on his glove-hand wrist trying to make a diving catch in center field. Ankiel has not been able to swing a bat since, but Riggleman remained hopeful he will take batting practice and play tomorrow. That does not seem likely. Ankiel could pinch-run or be used as a defensive replacement, but the Nationals want to wait because it remains possible they will place him on the disabled list.
“I can’t say we’ve ruled it out, but I don’t think it’s going to be necessary,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “I certainly hope not. If we pinch-run him or something like that, then we’ve got to go 15 days from that point. We want to make sure it’s not a DL situation before we do something like that.”
Morse’s MRI, he said, was only “precautionary,” he said. Morse pinch-hit last night and is somewhat bothered when he runs, but said he feels like he could play tonight.
“I feel great,” said Morse, who is from the Fort Lauderdale area. “It feels a lot better. They just told me to go [to the doctor], so I just went. It was just a precautionary thing. Why not? It’s near my house.”
Playing without Ankiel and with Morse limited has caused some strain already. Last night, the Nationals used Brian Bixler, who had appeared once previously in the majors as an outfielder, in left field. If Ankiel had to go on the disabled list, Roger Bernadina would almost surely be the outfielder who replaces him.
Friday night, Bernadina was pulled in the fourth inning of Class AAA Syracuse’s game in Durham, N.C., apparently without injury. That’s a strong sign that he could be coming to Florida, either to replace Ankiel or for insurance if Ankiel’s wrist does not improve.
In a Morse-related note: He hosted a local Tee Ball team from Cooper City, close to where he grew up, which he helps coach in the offseason.The 5- and 6-year-old kids stood on the field pregame and watched batting practice.