Washington Nationals: Michael Morse Definitely to Return by June 8, Maybe Sooner

Michael Nargi@NargOnSportsSenior Analyst IMay 24, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 22: Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals hits a three run home run during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 22, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Nationals won 6-1. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals are getting closer to getting back the biggest power threat they have on their team.

Michael Morse, who has not played a game for the Nats this season, will play in his first of three extended spring training games on Friday.

According to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, manager Davey Johnson says that Morse will "for sure" be back to play in the series against the Boston Red Sox beginning on June 8.

"There's some people thinking it might be accelerated ahead of that. We'll see on Friday how he comes out of that game," Johnson added.

After his three extended spring training games, Morse is slated to play in a few rehab games in the minors.

Morse, 30, was shut down on April 11 after re-aggravating an abdominal strain during a minor league rehab assignment.

Most of his trouble came when he tried to throw from the outfield. As such, the plan is to have him start at DH in Boston during interleague play. If he were to return sooner, it would prematurely force him back in the outfield.

As great as it would be to have him back as soon as possible, it might be wiser to wait until the Nats arrive in Boston to avoid any further setbacks.

Morse broke out in 2011 when he hit 31 home runs, 36 doubles and drove in 95 runs while hitting .303 in 146 games. 

Either way, the Nationals' struggling offense will be greatly helped when Morse returns to the lineup.