An MRI taken recently on Michael Morse’s strained right lat muscle revealed no significant structural damage. But that positive development hasn’t really meant all that much for the 29-year-old slugger.
According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, Morse won’t be cleared to resume baseball activities “for at least a week” due to lingering discomfort on his right side.
Morse suffered the lat strain at the beginning of this month. He tried to return to Grapefruit League play last week as a designated hitter, but that experiment didn’t go as smoothly as hoped.
There’s no concern yet about Morse being unavailable for Opening Day, but that could certainly change if he’s unable to fit in enough playing time in exhibition games. He batted .303/.360/.550 with 31 home runs, 36 doubles and 95 RBI across 575 plate appearances last season for the third-place Nationals.
Adam LaRoche has also been shut down for the next several days because of ankle discomfort.
UPDATE, 12:13 PM: Ladson clarifies that Morse and LaRoche “are not expected to play in a major league exhibition game for at least a week.” So the two can presumably take part in drills and such.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.