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.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.
Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.
Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.
Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.
According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.