MRI on Michael Morse’s lat strain shows no further damage

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The Nationals initially called Michael Morse day-to-day after he was diagnosed with a mild strain of his right lat muscle early last week. He returned to the lineup as the designated hitter on Monday and Tuesday, but it’s clear he’s not out of the woods yet.

Dan Kolko of MASNSports.com reports that Morse recently underwent an MRI which showed no further damage, but that he’ll get at bats on the minor league side for now instead of playing in Grapefruit League games. The 30-year-old is expected to serve as the Nationals’ starting left fielder this season, but he has yet to play in the field this spring due to the injury.

Morse has emerged as the most potent bat in the Nationals’ lineup over the past two seasons, hitting .298/.357/.539 with 46 homers and an .896 OPS in 244 games. It would be a big blow to the Nats’ chances if the injury lingers into the regular season.

The Tigers decline Anibal Sanchez’s 2018 option

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From the “this does not surprise us in the very least” department, Tigers GM Al Avila announced today that the club is declining its $16 million option on right-hander Anibal Sanchez.

Sanchez had a terrible year in 2017, going 3-7 with a 6.41 ERA in 2017. That’s a long slide down from his 2013 season, in which he won the AL ERA title, going 14-8 and posting an ERA of 2.57 in the first year of his five-year, $80 million deal. Since then he’s gone 28-35 with a 5.15 ERA. He never started 30 games or more over the course of the contract.

The declination of the option does come with a nice parting gift for Sanchez: a $5 million buyout. Which is pretty dang high for a buyout, but that’s how the Tigers rolled three or four years ago.