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.

Cubs sign sinkerballer Steve Cishek

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cubs have signed reliever Steve Cishek. No details about the deal are known yet. For what it’s worth, most relievers are signing two-year deals so far this winter and Cishek’s last deal was a two-year pact.

Cishek, 31-year-old sidearmer who throws a surprisingly fast sinkerball, posted a 2.01 ERA and a 41/14 K/BB ratio and allowed just 26 hits in 44.2 innings between the Mariners and Rays last season. He saved 25 games for the M’s in 2016. Last year he missed the first month and a half of the season following hip surgery, but seemed pretty healthy later in the year.

A nice pickup for Chicago.