Michael Morse (lat strain) shut down for at least a week

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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.

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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.

Brandon Crawford homers off brother-in-law Gerrit Cole

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You can’t pick your family and no one knows that better than Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. His sister Amy married Astros starter Gerrit Cole in November 2016, so the two players are brothers-in-law.

The two players have matched up against each other 18 times in the past, as Cole spent his first five seasons in the National League with the Pirates. Cole often won that battle, holding Crawford to four hits — all singles — in 18 plate appearances.

Crawford finally got the better of Cole on Tuesday night, hitting a line drive into the appropriately-named Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park for a two-run home run, cutting the Astros’ lead to 5-2.