Michael Morse aggravates lat muscle tear, will be in “total shutdown mode” for six weeks

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Michael Morse was on the verge of coming off the disabled list when he experienced pain while throwing on his minor-league rehab assignment and the news on the Nationals left fielder isn’t good.

General manager Mike Rizzo told reporters that Morse aggravated his torn lat muscle and will be in “total shutdown mode” for at least six weeks, adding that surgery is not an option to repair the injury.

That would still leave some time for Morse to potentially return before the All-Star break, but given his previous setback seeing him in the Nationals’ lineup before the second half seems unlikely. Morse is a huge loss, as he emerged as one of the league’s top hitters during the past two seasons while batting .298 with 31 homers and an .896 OPS in 163 games.

Calling up Bryce Harper from Triple-A to replace Morse isn’t a consideration according to Rizzo, so instead the Nationals will turn to some combination of Mark DeRosa, Xavier Nady, and Roger Bernadina in bigger roles.

Michael Fulmer underwent surgery on his right knee

Detroit Tigers v Houston Astros
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MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that Tigers starter Michael Fulmer underwent successful surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee. The Tigers expect Fulmer to be ready for spring training next year.

Fulmer, 25, threw just five pitches in his start against the Indians on Friday before being removed with what at the time was called right knee inflammation. The right-hander ends 2018 with a 3-12 record, a 4.69 ERA, and a 110/46 K/BB ratio in 132 1/3 innings.

Fulmer will enter his first of four years of arbitration eligibility after the season. The Tigers likely would have considered trading him during the offseason but his poor season and knee woes will keep him in Detroit for the time being.