Nyjer Morgan speaks up, sits and stews
This week, his hip right hurting, Nyjer Morgan did the smart thing, what the Nationals implore their players to do. He told the trainer the lingering pain would not leave. The trainers ordered the tests. The tests suggested Morgan shouldn't play.
And now, Morgan regrets doing the smart thing, what the Nationals implore their players to do. Morgan says the pain is gone and he could play tonight. Instead, he is on the disabled list. The lesson Morgan learned is, in the Nationals' view, a dangerous one.
"I feel like I should have kept my mouth closed," Morgan said.
The Nationals are "optimistic" Morgan will miss the minimum two weeks, General Manager Mike Rizzo said. But they will also fly him to see Nashville to see Dr. Thomas Byrd, a hip specialist, on Sunday to further inspect the soreness in his right hip. Morgan believes his time would be better spent in center field of Dodgers Stadium than a doctor's office.
"I still want to be out there with my boys, bumping and grinding," Morgan said. "I know I still can, if I wanted to."
Morgan understands the precaution the Nationals are trying to take. But he's also frustrated that, for the second straight year, an injury struck while he was playing his best. He's playing center field at his peak and has hit .308 with a .361 on-base percentage since the all-star break.
The Nationals have not sat down and tried to explain to Morgan their motivation, in part because they realize it wouldn't do much good at this point.
"He's not in the mood to be talked to right now," Manager Jim Riggleman said with a laugh "He's just mad."
The Nationals do not want to dissuade players from doing what Morgan did. Starter Ross Detwiler waited far too long to inform the Nationals about the pain in his hip, and it mushroomed into hip surgery this spring that forced him to miss the first four months of the season.
"It's a very delicate thing," Riggleman said. "You want to tell your players, 'If you've got an injury, you've got to tell the trainer.' He's mad that he got it checked out. He could be playing. He was flying around. He was running. But once you go to the doctor and get that MRI, the MRI is going to show something.
"It's a tough thing. The player wants to know what's wrong. Once you find out what's wrong, the trainer might not let you play."
"I guess," Morgan said, "it's better off just being safe."
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