NEW YORK -- An examination of Michael Morse's left wrist this morning revealed a torn sheath and bone bruise, injuries that while currently painful don't require surgery and could possibly allow the Nationals' left fielder to return to the lineup Friday in Atlanta.
Morse said the diagnosis actually gave him peace of mind, relieving any worries he had a break or more significant tear that would keep him out longer.
"Oh, yeah. For sure," he said. "Just have to get it better now."
There's not a whole lot Morse can do to help speed along the healing process, aside from rest and some anti-inflammatory medication. The plan for now: He's not playing in tonight's series finale against the Mets and will be off with the rest of the club Thursday. He'll then attempt to take batting practice Friday in Atlanta, at which point the Nationals will decide whether he's ready to play or needs more time to recover.
"We asked for anything we can do," Morse said. "They pretty much said the best thing is just to let it calm down."
The Nationals also will send copies of Morse's MRI to a specialist in Baltimore, seeking another opinion.
The injury has plagued Morse for about a month and could be a byproduct of him compensating for another injury to his right thumb. Unable to grip his bat during a mid-August series in San Francisco, he attempted a one-handed swing, adding stress to his left wrist.
Morse has played through the pain since, but his production has dropped off. Since that series against the Giants, he's hitting .238 with two homers and zero doubles.
After going 0-for-5 during Tuesday night's win, he told manager Davey Johnson about the extent of his pain.
"I'm sick of hurting the team," he said.
"He's been trying to play through it, but I was going to give him off anyway because I thought he had to be hurting the way he's been swinging," Johnson said. "Glad to find out about it. Wished he'd have said something. Maybe we could've given him some time off and then he wouldn't have had to struggle through this little batting slump."
The sheath is a layer of connective tissue that surrounds the wrist. If completely torn, it could require surgery, but that doesn't appear to be the case for Morse.
This is merely the latest ailment to interrupt Morse's season. He missed the season's first two months with a torn lat muscle and missed time last month after getting hit by a pitch in his right hand.
Overall, the 30-year-old is hitting .285 with 13 homers, 49 RBI and a .758 OPS in 88 total games on the heels of a breakthrough 2011 in which he led the Nationals with a .303 average, 31 homers, 95 RBI and a .910 OPS.
"It's been a tough year," he said. "I'm going to try to help the team as much as possible."