Michael Morse will miss at least tonight’s game after specialists diagnosed him with a bone bruise in his left wrist caused by a torn sheath. An X-ray on the wrist came back negative, but the Nationals will receive a second opinion on an MRI taken of the wrist.
Surgery is not an option, Morse said, and neither is any kind of numbing shot. Morse is taking anti-inflammatory medication, and today he wore a small, removable cast on his left hand. Otherwise, the only prescription is rest. Morse said the news was, “exactly what I wanted to hear.”
“It was just tough hitting,” Morse said. “It was tough swinging. I’d rather try to get 100 percent going into this next little stretch we’re going to have.”
Morse had played with pain in his left wrist for about a month, before he finally spoke up last night to Manager Davey Johnson. Morse had been hit by a pitch in his right wrist and then jammed his right thumb. The dual ailments caused him to overcompensate with his left hand as he swung, which caused the damage.
Both Morse and Johnson said they did not know when, exactly, Morse could return. Morse said he expected to miss only, “a couple days.” Johnson said Morse may take batting practice Friday in Atlanta, and that how he felt could determine whether he plays.
On the surface, Morse’s recent performance didn’t scream that he had been playing through pain – he is hitting .298 in his past 14 games. But Morse’s power has escaped him, and he knew it. In the 24 games since Morse jammed his thumb, he has only two home runs and four total extra base hits.
“People didn’t realize because my numbers were,” Morse said. “The thing is, I’m not going to let myself just fail. I’m going to figure out a way. I’ve been battling, battling, battling this last month just to, in my eyes, stay above water. I’m getting these little base hits here and there, but that’s not me. I’m not driving the ball. I’m not hitting the ball like I want to. And it hurts.
“At the end of the day, I’m hurting the team. As much as I want to play and be out there, and as much as they want me to play and be out there, I don’t want to hurt this team. We got too many guys that are healthy on the bench that can fill in until I get back.”
It has been a trying season for Morse. He missed the season’s first 50 games after a presumed minor tweak in his right lat at the start of spring training turned into a serious injury. He rushed back, and by the time he found his swing he started having hand trouble. When he visited the doctor today, Morse was worried the news could be much worse.
“It’s been a roller-coaster year,” Morse said. “I’ve learned a lot about myself.
“I missed all of spring training. I came back after three or four to start the season. I don’t recommend that to everybody. That was tough. I got a little span where I felt healthy. I started getting my swing and it started feeling good. I hurt myself. I got hit in the hand, and I jammed my thumb real bad, and now this. So it snowballed.”
Johnson wished Morse had spoken up about his injury earlier. “Maybe we could have given him a little time off rather than struggle through this batting slump,” Johnson said.
Without Morse, Roger Bernadina will play left field tonight against right-handed starter Matt Harvey. If Morse remains out for another few games, Tyler Moore would likely start against left-handed starters.
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