Today, Nationals outfielder Michael Morse begins his rehab in Viera, Florida.
Morse is still recovering from a strained lat muscle in spring training that was eventually torn in a previous rehab game in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Viera is home to the clubs minor league headquarters. While he's there, he is expected to take a number of at-bats and take part in throwing drills regularly. He will not be immediately activated for minor league availability, however. But expect him to be activated within the next two weeks.
As we stand right now, Morse is expected to return June 8th. Nationals Manager Davey Johnson, however, is optimistic that he could return even sooner.
"I know he's chomping at the bit," Johnson said in an interview with Gene Wang of the Washington Post. Johnson went on to say that Morse was just looking for something that the medical staff would let him do.
Last season, Morse was one of the teams leading hitters the whole way through. He had a batting average of .303 with a slugging percentage of .550. He hit 31 home runs with 95 RBI.
The absence of Morse's bat has certainly been evident. The Nationals are near the bottom of the league in batting average with runners in scoring position. Adam LaRoche has been able to pick up some slack, but especially now that Jayson Werth is out, the Nationals need another big bat.
If everything goes according to plan, Michael Morse could return to the Nationals well before June 8th.
Before last Saturday's game against the Orioles, he was running around the outfield catching fly balls during pre-game batting practice. His arm looked strong as he had little trouble throwing the ball.
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