Michael Morse, especially compared to yesterday, was all smiles in the Nationals clubhouse this afternoon. The flu he had last night, apparently, laid him pretty low. He felt terrible even when he pinch hit and drew a walk. But today, “I feel a lot better,” he said.
Still, Manager Jim Riggleman stuck with Laynce Nix in order to give Morse one more day to recover and because he could give Nix more at-bats. “I always like to get some guys who have been sitting for a little bit some consecutive days,” Riggleman said. “If the opportunity presents itself, ideally, you put the same ones out there all the time. But that’s not realistic.”
And, even though Morse isn’t starting, “there’s a good chance he’ll surface in this game somewhere today,” Riggleman said.
The Nationals did get Adam LaRoche back in the lineup after he missed yesterday with a strained left groin. “He’s certainly not 100 percent,” Riggleman said. “He’s a little tender. But the way he explains it, ‘I’ve had this before more severe than this. I know how to monitor it, take care of it without aggravating it.’ We’re kind of trusting him. If he hits a one-hopper back to the pitcher, we don’t want him flying down the line.”
Yesterday, LaRoche tried to argue his way into the lineup to no avail. Riggleman had to balance LaRoche’s adamant assertion that he could play while also listening to his trainers.
“He was really irritated yesterday,” Riggleman said. “We make the decisions. But if I wait for people to be 100 percent before I put them out there, you really wouldn’t field a team very often.
“I just basically let him know that this is your best interest and our best interest. I’ll give you a day here, maybe save 15 later. If we play you at the disregard of what the trainer and the doctor say, that’s disrespectful to our training staff. They did not want him to play. That’s first and foremost. I’m not going to not listen to the doctor.”