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Nyjer Morgan scheduled to return Thursday

Nyjer Morgan will not play in a major league spring training game until Thursday because of a minor strain in his hamstring. Morgan, who has not played in six days, will take at-bats in intrasquad minor league games in the mean time.

Morgan believes he could be playing now, and Manager Jim Riggleman allowed he is "real close" to being 100 percent. But Riggleman also said he is listening to the Nationals medical staff "more so than Nyjer," and their recommendation is to prevent Morgan from running to avoid further damage.

Yesterday, Morgan took 10 at-bats in a minor league game, but he would like to play in a full game in order to hone his timing. This spring, Morgan is 3 for 21 with a walk and a double.

"Once he gets back in there playing Thursday night, that'll all be behind him," Riggleman said. "There's still plenty of time for him get ready."

Even if Morgan had not tweaked his hamstring, Riggleman planned on giving him a relatively light workload this spring. Morgan has never played a full season in the majors - he would have last year had a broken hand not ended his season at 121 games played. Riggleman plans on Morgan playing about 150 games this year, and he didn't want to overburden him in March.

For now, travel is part of the reasoning to hold Morgan back until Thursday - the Nationals take long bus rides to the play Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. on Tuesday and the Yankees in Tampa on Wednesday.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 21, 2010; 12:40 PM ET
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