Injured outfielder Michael Morse, whose 2012 season debut has been delayed by a pesky lat strain, could come off the disabled list by June 1 when the Nationals open a six-game homestand, according to Manager Davey Johnson.
Morse, expected to be the Nationals’ cleanup hitter and everyday left fielder, is expected to head to Viera, Fla., next week to begin collecting some at-bats at the team’s minor league headquarters, and if all goes well the Nationals could activate him well ahead of the June 8 target date that Johnson had been publicly using.
“Big and strong as he is. . . . I don’t think it’s going to take much time,” Johnson said. “He’s [already] throwing every other day.”
Morse, whose breakthrough 2011 season included 31 home runs, originally injured himself during spring training, then re-aggravated the injury during a rehab assignment in early April, prompting GM Mike Rizzo to order a six-week total shutdown.
In other injury news, utility man Mark DeRosa, who has been on the disabled list since April 28 with a left oblique strain, has also shown significant improvement and will accompany the team on its upcoming Philadelphia/Atlanta/Miami road trip, with a target of returning by the end of next week.