PHILADELPHIA -- His right hand still red and swollen, Michael Morse was not surprisingly out of the starting lineup for tonight's game against the Phillies, but the Nationals left fielder remains hopeful he'll be back within a matter of days.
Morse took a pitch off the outside of his hand during the first inning of Friday night's game and immediately dropped to a knee in obvious pain. Nationals officials and teammates were worried the pitch broke a bone, but X-rays came back negative and Morse was diagnosed only with a bad bruise.
Though it was an encouraging diagnosis, Morse is still dealing with pain and as of this afternoon had yet to attempt to grip a bat or ball.
"Gripping is tough," he said. "It's a little weak. I'm still trying to get my pinky to move a little more."
Morse described the overall feeling in his hand as "just sore" and "kind of weak." He planned to attempt to start testing it out while the rest of the Nationals are playing the Phillies tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
Morse said throwing may actually be a bigger concern than hitting.
Though Morse didn't entirely rule out the possibility of playing in Sunday's series finale, manager Davey Johnson suggested he's likely to be held out until the Nationals play in Miami on Tuesday.
"Yeah, probably," Johnson said. "It's going to be up to Michael. He got hit pretty good, so just play it day-by-day."
Ian Desmond, meanwhile, was out of the lineup for the second straight night with a mild hamstring strain suffered while taking an awkward step near first base on Wednesday in Washington. The Nationals shortstop doesn't expect to play at all this weekend.
"We're probably on a day-to-day basis," Johnson said. "But I'm not going to take a chance on injuries."