'Outside possibility' Morse returns Friday

'Outside possibility' Morse returns Friday

'Outside possibility' Morse returns Friday
MIAMI -- Washington finally got a hint of good news on the injury front Wednesday.

Outfielder Michael Morse, who has been sidelined all season with a torn left lat muscle, feels good after throwing to different bases Wednesday, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.

Morse began his rehab assignment Tuesday in Potomac, and went 0-for-1 with a walk as the designated hitter before the game was suspended due to rain. Morse has said swinging the bat hasn't been an issue while recovering from the injury, but throwing the ball has, which makes Wednesday's news all the more welcoming for the ailing Nats.

"That's good news," Johnson said. "We got another body that's close to being healthy -- rather than the other way around."

According to Johnson, Morse will play DH twice Wednesday as Class A Potomac finishes the rain-shortened game and then plays its regularly scheduled contest against Myrtle Beach. On Thursday, Johnson said Morse is likely to play in the outfield for Potomac, and that a Friday return to the big league club is an "outside possibility."

Upon Morse's activation, Johnson said he has no plans of easing the outfielder back by using him as a pinch-hitter. Morse hit .303 with a .360 on-base percentage last season as the Nats' cleanup hitter. He belted 31 homers and drove in 95 runs.

"If he's able to go, I'll throw him right out there," Johnson said. "He might connect and hit one hard. He would be a welcome addition."

Johnson added that he's likely to play Morse in right field when he returns to the lineup. Morse strictly played left field last season, but with Jayson Werth on the 60-day disabled list with a left wrist injury, and Johnson wanting to keep leadoff hitter Steve Lombardozzi in the lineup, right field seems like the logical fit for Morse, who played the position when he first entered the league.