Nyjer Morgan out until at least Friday with 'tweaked' hamstring
Already fighting a slow offensive start to spring training, Nationals centerfielder and leadoff hitter Nyjer Morgan will not play until at least Friday with a pulled hamstring. Morgan "tweaked himself a little bit," Manager Jim Riggleman said, while running out a groundball in his final at-bat Sunday.
"Hopefully, it's just something that will be taken care of by the weekend," Riggleman said. "But if it's not, we got to make sure he can run 100 percent. It's such a big part of his game. I can't let him go out there and run to a point where he might really pull something."
Morgan had not had any problems with his hamstring this spring until Sunday. He hit a groundball to second base and pulled up as he reached first base. The Nationals took him out of the game, and he also did not play last night. The Nationals are off Thursday, meaning Morgan may only miss one more game.
The injury worsened an already difficult spring for Morgan, who hit .351 after arriving from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle of last season. Morgan is 3 for 21 (.182) this spring with a double and one walk. Morgan has traditionally been a slow starter in spring training. Hitting coach David Eckstein said his problems at the plate are unrelated to the wrist injury that ended his 2009 season.
Riggleman said this weekend that Morgan has been "in between" while batting - swinging late on fastballs and early on offspeed pitches.
"Approach-wise, when he's in the box, timing-wise, he's a little off," Eckstein said. "Getting that is repetition. It's getting that comfort level in the box. He's come light-years from last week to this week. Just a matter of getting comfortable."
Elijah Dukes is also absent from either split-squad lineup today, but Riggleman said he just has a routine day off. "No physical issues," Riggleman said.
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