Nyjer Morgan returns to Nationals
Nyjer Morgan returned from his eight-game suspension and enjoyed a largely uneventful day aside from the beginning and the end of the Nationals' 5-0 loss to the Braves. Morgan went 1 for 5 and made all three plays he had a shot at in center field. Morgan, who had been taking batting practice with the Nationals, said he felt no rust and concentrated on his new mantra of "slowing the game down."
"I felt really good," Morgan said. "I'm just trying to get my rhythm, even though it's really not that off. I'm just trying to play the game right now."
Morgan blended into the game, except during perhaps his best at-bat of the season and when a Billy Wagner fastball nearly took his head off.
Morgan led off with an 11-pitch at-bat against Derek Lowe, and he concluded the battle by poking one of Lowe's sliders down the third-base line for a double. (Morgan preferred a single up the middle against Josh Johnson as his best at-bat of the season, saying he usually sees Lowe well.)
In the ninth inning, Morgan came up with Justin Maxwell on second base and no outs. Wagner knocked him down with a fastball that flew inches from his face, Morgan's helmet falling off as he fell to the dirt.
"It wasn't on my purpose, man," Morgan said. "He's just playing the game, hardball. He came with some bowtie music."
Morgan took a wicked hack at the next pitch for a strike, but he eventually lined to center field, a hit that stayed up just long enough for center field Nate McLouth to make the catch.
"I was fired up," Morgan said. "I took a nice cut at that last one. I realized I had to slow the game down."
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