The Washington Nationals were expecting their power-hitting left fielder back for their home opener on Thursday. Instead, they announced that Michael Morse is going to be shut down for the next six weeks after suffering a setback with his strained right lat.
Reporter Amanda Comak tweeted, "Michael Morse will be shut down for six weeks. Aggravated his lat injury by throwing. Rest now, then ramp up. Full timetable indefinite."
This news coincides with the news that closer Drew Storen underwent minor surgery on Wednesday. Without these two key pieces, the Nationals are going to have to fight even harder to try to find a spot in the playoffs come October.
Filling in for Morse in left field will be Mark DeRosa, Xavier Nady and Roger Bernadina.
There is no replacement for Morse's numbers, however. Last season he hit 31 home runs, 36 doubles and drove in 96 RBI. Luckily for the Nationals, they have a head start this season, as they have come out of the gates strong while the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins have all struggled.
The Nationals were looking to prove that they were playoff contenders before they were burdened with injuries. Now they are going to have to try a bit harder.