The Nats are about to get an injection of power.
According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Nationals manager Davey Johnson told reporters Wednesday that rehabbing slugger Michael Morse will “for sure” be ready for activation by June 8.
That’s when Washington will kick off a three-game interleague series in Boston, where Morse will be allowed to serve as the team’s desiganted hitter.
The 30-year-old has been on the disabled list since the end of spring training with a torn right lat muscle. He recently headed down to Viera, Florida to being participating in extended spring training games.
Morse posted a sparkling .303/.360/.550 batting line, 31 home runs and 95 RBI last season.
The Nationals enter play Wednesday night with a half-game lead over the Braves in the NL East.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.