Most players end up dealing with various nagging injuries throughout Spring Training and even the regular season. Many of them are relatively inconsequential – there’s no change in performance and we don’t even hear about the injury itself. The Nationals are no different. But there are some concerns as Opening Day continues to inch closer.
Front and center is the lack of Michael Morse’s name being penciled into the lineup. He’s only appeared in 3 games this Spring, all as DH, due mostly to a lat strain that doesn’t seem to be getting any better. He’s currently not being permitted to undertake any “baseball activities” and it’s starting to sound more and more like he may end up starting the season on the DL, though a late report this afternoon from Mark Zuckerman suggests that they team may have once again shifted their perception on when he’ll be ready. Needless to say, this is still an open-ended situation. Morse’s absense would create a big hole in the middle of the Nationals’ lineup as the season starts, not a good sign for a team that has been struggling offensively this Spring.
Closer Drew Storen has reportedly been experiencing some tightness in his elbow in the past few days. An MRI revealed some inflamation but no structural damage, an obvious good sign. But this is something to keep an eye on as the season progresses. Presumably the team will keep a close eye on his workload in an effort to prevent any undue strain on his arm, but they’ll also need to be cautious of an increased workload being placed on their other late game bullpen options, notably Tyler Clippard and Brad Lidge.
Since straining his hamstring, Chien-Ming Wang‘s recovery has gone slowly, as expected. The odds that he isn’t ready for Opening Day and the 5th spot in the rotation goes to John Lannan continue to increase. Apparently Wang’s only doing some agility drills at the moment and hasn’t even started throwing from a mound.