NEW YORK -- Outfielder Michael Morse, on the disabled list because of strained right lat (back) muscle, is expected to play nine innings for Class A Hagerstown on Monday and Tuesday and will rejoin the Nationals in time for the home opener against the Reds on Thursday afternoon.
Morse is eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, but manager Davey Johnson didn't want to rush him back and felt Thursday was the best time to activate him.
Once Morse is back on the team, the Nationals must take off a player from the 25-man roster. Johnson declined to say who the candidates are.
One has to assume that outfielder Brett Carroll or infielder/outfielder Stephen Lombardozzi are possibilities to leave the team. There is a feeling that Lombardozzi needs to play every day. Carroll is out of options, but has been used only for pinch-running duties.
Nats send Storen to get elbow examination
NEW YORK -- Nationals closer Drew Storen suffered a setback, experiencing right elbow pain after throwing a simulated game on Sunday at the team's complex in Viera, Fla.
Storen was sent to Birmingham, Ala., to see Dr. James Andrews to get further examination on the elbow.
Manager Davey Johnson wasn't optimistic about when the team would see Storen on the mound again. The skipper even hinted that Storen may have a bone ship in the elbow.
"He threw the ball pretty good, warmed up pretty good," Johnson said. "At the end of the day, he felt a little tenderness in his elbow. So we are going to send him over to Andrews and have him re-examined and see what is causing it. ... Hopefully, it's nothing serious, but it doesn't sound good to me."
Prior to Sunday, the last time Storen pitched in a game was in early March. At the time, the team announced that he had "typical arm soreness." By the end of Spring Training, the team announced that he had inflammation in the elbow and was going on the disabled list, but would be back by the middle of April.
With Storen out of the picture for a while, Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge will split the closer's role.
"With the addition of Brad Lidge, we have even more depth," Johnson said. "But any time you lose someone like Storen, who saved 43 games, that is a big concern of mine."
Ryan Zimmerman said the Nationals have a capable bullpen with Storen out of action.
"[The Nationals] did a great job of getting Lidge and guys like that," Zimmerman said. "We have a more than capable bullpen. Hopefully, it will hold up while he is gone. Any time your teammate or anyone like that gets hurt, it's not good. You feel bad for them. Hopefully, everything will turn out OK. [The front office] has done a great job of having so much depth in the bullpen. It gives him some time to get healthy and not rush anything."
Prospect Goodwin injures leg in Hagerstown tilt
NEW YORK -- Class A Hagerstown outfielder Brian Goodwin suffered a leg injury in an 8-7 victory over Lexington on Monday. It's not known how serious the injury is.
Goodwin was 6-for-16 (.375) with two home runs and eight RBIs this season.
Goodwin, a compensation pick from last year's First-Year Player Draft, received a $3.6 million bonus. He was 60-for-157 (.382) with eight home runs, 37 RBIs and 42 runs in 47 games with Miami Dade College in 2011. The left-handed-hitting Goodwin also posted a .492 on-base percentage and 16 stolen bases for the Sharks.
Goodwin is the second prospect to get hurt in less than a week. On Saturday, third baseman Anthony Rendon suffered a sprained left ankle while running the bases in a 7-2 loss to Lynchburg. X-rays were negative.
Rendon hurt the ankle in the fourth inning. After a hitting a double, Rendon was trying to score on a bloop single to center by Justin Bloxom. Rendon went down with the ankle injury after rounding third base.
Nats' Wang working toward facing hitters
NEW YORK -- Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring, continues to throw off the mound, but needs to do it a few more times before facing hitters, according to Davey Johnson.
Wang is expected to return to the Nationals around late April or early May and join the rotation, while Ross Detwiler will head to the bullpen as a long reliever.
As for outfielder Rick Ankiel (tight left quad), he is expected to be back with the team by the end of the week. He most likely will get the bulk of the playing time in center field.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.