Michael Morse states his case

Adam Kilgore
Copyright 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011; 7:11 PM

In his first at-bat of the spring, Michael Morse felt "a little jittery," the same way he always feels the first game of the year. "I think that's part of the game," Morse said. "And I love it. When those nerves leave, you better start thinking about another job." After he grounded out to third base in the first inning, Morse made an adjustment. "I just calmed down," Morse said, "and got back to myself." And that, Morse has proven, is good enough. Morse will try to make the case he belongs as the Nationals everyday left field this season, and he began with strong opening argument. In the Nationals' 9-3 victory over the Mets, Morse went 3 for 5 with a single two two-run home runs, a blast to left field off left-hander Taylor Tankersley and a rocket to right field off right-hander Ryota Igarashi. "It feels good," Morse said. "I made a couple adjustments. It always feel good to hit the ball solid." Morse inserted himself into the discussion for an everyday job with his breakout 2010 season. He hit .289 with a .352 on-base percentage, a .519 slugging percentage and 15 home runs in 266 at-bats. One of Morse biggest competitors for the left field spot, Roger Bernadina, did nothing to hurt his cause, either. He went 2 for 2 with a walk and a stolen base, smoking a single to right and laying don't a clinical bunt single. But Morse, by twice bashing a home run before Bryce Harper came to bat, stood out most. He clobbered a slider off of Tankersley to left, a drive that "was absolutely crushed," Manager Jim Riggleman said. In his next at-bat, he drove an outside fastball from Igarashi over the right field fence. "He really got into a couple balls," Riggleman said. "He had good at-bats all day."

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