PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals suffered a potentially serious blow during the first inning of tonight's series opener against the Phillies when cleanup hitter Michael Morse was struck by a pitch in the right hand and had to be removed from the game.
Morse appeared to be in serious pain after taking Kyle Kendrick's fastball off the outside of his right hand, grimacing as trainer Mike McGowan took off his batting glove and examined him.
Morse quickly departed the field and headed down the tunnel to the visiting clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park where he was expected to have X-rays taken. Two innings later, the Nationals announced he had suffered a contusion (bruise) of the hand but did not reveal results of any X-rays.
The 30-year-old outfielder missed the first two months of the season with a torn lat muscle. In 72 games since, he's hitting .286 with 12 homers, 45 RBI and a .459 slugging percentage.
Roger Bernadina took over Morse's spot in the lineup and in left field. If Morse needs to miss any more time, manager Davey Johnson would probably use a combination of Bernadina, Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore in left field.