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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.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 16, 2010; 11:45 AM ET
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The sun just started to shine a little brighter on Roger Bernadina...

Maybe Morgan can tweak his hitting too.


Posted by: arlingtontwb | March 16, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I hate hamstring injurries - hopefully it really is just a tweak.

So I noticed a few things from the game on TV last night that I'm sure others may have covered, but I'll comment anyway...

- Dunn, struggles with instincts, footwork, and flexibility at first. I believe he had his glove turned the wrong way on the flub, pulled his back foot off the bag prematurely, and he needs to work at lowering his base (butt and lower back) to be ready for the throws.

- Kennedy is a player. He has excellent insticnts and will likely not make many fundamental mistakes.

- Walker gets sweaty walking to the mound. But he's going to be ok.

- Dukes looked very uncomfortable in the batters box. I think he knows he can't consistently hit the breaking ball. They might have to sit him against slop ballers.

- IROD is worth his weight in game calling and defense, but will struggle to hit his weight on offense. Despite his hit, he seems to struggle to get around on the ball. Perhaps he will get his timing down.

- Desmond is the best shortstop on the team.

Posted by: natbiscuits | March 16, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The way he looked last night, Dukes has taken more than just today off. You can typically tell when he looks "on" or "off" when he is at the plate. Last night he looked like he was switched off.

Posted by: twinbrook | March 16, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Here is a repose to your flowers natsbiscuits, I saw this on Ben G's MASN's Blog

Richard Amazin said:
Sounds harsh but seeing with your own eyes makes you understand why this team is 0 for the spring. BTW for the love of ***, please Dibbs and SunShine Bobby pipe the hype down just a bit. We all get it, we all understand the plan, we don't have to be beat over the head every inning with how great Rizzo, StanK and the Lerners are. If I want a dose of fantasy I'll click on Nats320, lots of fluff on those cyber pages. I'm in a rare mood today....,serenity now!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 16, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

For those who were upset that we didn't outbid the A's for Ben Sheets (1 year, $10mill), have you noticed his line so far this Spring: 18 runs in 4 innings pitched. Our staff hasn't been good, but we haven't been that bad.

Posted by: slewis1 | March 16, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The line up I would love to see but wont happen:

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF (speed)
2. Roger Bernadina, LF (Speed)
3. Ian Desmond, SS (Speed)
4. Adam Dunn, 1B (Power)
5. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B (Perfect Protection)
6. Justin Maxwell, RF (growing Power and speed)
7. Adam Kennedy, 2B
8. Ivan Rodriguez, C
9. SP

The speed at 1,2,3 would give pitchers fits

Posted by: hansenjo | March 16, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Hansenjo, I totally agree. Time to give up on Dukes' "potential." Way too many holes in his swing. And Willingham's suspect mediocre fielding combined with his average speed and inability to hit for a full season makes him expendable too.


Posted by: arlingtontwb | March 16, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

No one is all that upset about Sheets. Aroldis Chapman is another story.

Posted by: periculum | March 16, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't think they would replace Dukes with Bernadina. The guy really can't hit at all. Dukes does hit some.

If you trade Willingham you have to put Morse in left field. That might just work making the oh so frugal Lerners happy. If you trade Dukes you would put Maxwell or Daniel in right field. That could create a gigantic hole. Then there's Desmond as the everyday right fielder instead of shortstop? That might not make sense either.

I just don't see it. I think Dukes is there until Destin Hood, Ramirez, Eury Perez finish developing in the minors.

Posted by: periculum | March 16, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Nats320 we all now know the dangers of driving on I95 ~tongue in cheek~ (Dude have you been living under a rock all these years?) LOL

And that Dukes is far more confident and driven this year ... that Adam Kennedy is pretty quiet going about his work and that Livan is the life of the party chatting with everyone ..

Posted by: periculum | March 16, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

No one is all that upset about Sheets. Aroldis Chapman is another story.

While I could care less about Sheets, I think you're comment that "No one" is upset is a little presumptive. And even though I appreciate your willingness to speak on behalf of Nats fans everywhere, Chapman is a dead issue. He signed somewhere else. End of story.

Posted by: KilgoreQTrout | March 16, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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