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Nyjer Morgan gets the day off

Washington Nationals starting center fielder Nyjer Morgan is scheduled sit out tonight's game against Pittsburgh to get some rest, Manager Jim Riggleman said.

Morgan has been on the upswing at the plate since being moved out of the leadoff spot and into the No. 2 slot on May 31. Since then, he has hit .286 with six runs in 10 games batting second. That's a marked improvement from his struggles in May, when he hit .223.

There was some thought that Morgan, who bats left-handed, would be out of the lineup because the Nationals are facing left-handed starter Zach Duke, but Riggleman indicated otherwise.

"Not so much against the lefty, just a day off," Riggleman said. "As we get on a pace, and you see what guys are going to end up with, I don't want to look back on the year and feel like we wore him out. I don't want him to get 640 at-bats or something. If he gets 550 or so, that means we sent him out there, and he was strong every time we sent him out there. We won't wear him out."

Morgan leads the Nationals with 224 at-bats, and he's tied for third on the team in games with 58. For the season, Morgan is batting .254 and is tied for third on Washington with 57 hits. Morgan leads the team in steals with 12, although he has been caught stealing a team-high nine times. He's also tied for the league-lead in triples with five.

With Morgan out of the lineup, Roger Bernadina moves from right to center field, and Michael Morse will start in right.

"He's is a high-energy guy," Riggleman said of Morgan. "We're just going to have to find some days to sit him down and see if he can help us late in the game in some manner, but just get him off his feet a little bit."

By Gene Wang  |  June 10, 2010; 5:38 PM ET
 
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Comments

"Morgan has been on the upswing at the plate since being moved out of the leadoff spot and into the No. 2 slot on May 31. Since then, he has hit .286 with six runs in 10 games batting second."

Ummm, four of those runs came on a 3-4 performance in the 14-4 blowout on May 31. He's scored a grand total of two runs in the eight games since then and been terrible at the plate in pretty much every possible way.

I don't think "on the upswing" is the phrase I would have chosen. I probably would have gone with "embarrassingly awful."

Posted by: Fozzie1 | June 10, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I just want him to think, hit the cutoff man, and I'll be content. Play smart baseball. Yea, that would be good. I wonder what Riggs and the other outfielders do to persuade a teammate that he's reacting like a first year little leaguer.

Posted by: nitcat | June 10, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I think that basically Nyger is cut out to be a 4th OF type. He could definitely use some more off days with Bernadina in center and Morse in right. We really need to get another bat in the lineup that can hit the ball out of the park, Morse could be that man.

Considering, when Guzman, Morgan, Desmond, Pudge and Bernadina are all in the lineup, plus the pitcher, that is a total of 7 homers hit this year out of 6 spots in the lineup. That is a big reason we struggle to score runs at times. Take Desmond out of that group, and you are talking about 3 homers from 5 spots in the lineup! Just plain terrible.

Zimmerman/Dunn/Hammer can't carry the load all year. We need more power! By all means, sit Nyger and see what happens with Bernadina in center and Morse in right, at least on a semi-regular basis.

Posted by: Ghost7 | June 10, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Could not agree with u guys anymore. Nyjer is already 30yo and yet brings nothing to the table. He is only 50% stealing bases. has probably the worse arm in the majors. Cant judge a fly ball to save his life. Does not know how to hit a cutoff man. Is hitting .250. I mean how in the hell did we come into the season thinkin he was an everyday CF. For christ sake hes been a starter for 1 season and it was in LF and he lead NL in times caught stealing

Posted by: natsfan43 | June 11, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

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