While the Nationals take batting practice in preparation for their opener, their four players on the disabled list arrived at their rehab locations. Center fielder Rick Ankiel and left fielder Michael Morse are set to play for Class AA Harrisburg in Bowie, hoping to return within 10 days. Meanwhile, starter Chien-Ming Wang and closer Drew Storen went back to Viera for extended spring training, each with a late-April target to return.
Ankiel will start as designated hitter for Harrisburg today, with Morse in left field. Because the Nationals did not add Ankiel to their 40-man roster until March 30, he is not eligible to return until April 14. Morse is eligible to come off the DL April 10.
“It will be entirely up to how he’s feeling, what he’s able to do,” Johnson said. “But knowing Michael Morse, I’ll probably get a phone call in about 3-4 days saying he’s ready.”
Both Ankiel and Morse worked out with the Nationals at Nationals Park on Wednesday before the team departed for Chicago. “They both looked good,” Johnson said. “They’re both chomping at the bit.”
Wang and Storen both have longer rehab schedules. Wang, who strained his left hamstring March 15, has yet to throw off a mound but will do so within three or four days, Johnson said. Storen, coming back from inflammation in his right elbow, has thrown two bullpen sessions. He will start facing batters in seven to 10 days, and shortly thereafter report to an affiliate for a rehab assignment.
“I look for them both toward the end of this month,” Johnson said.