WASHINGTON -- Nationals left fielder Michael Morse, who is on the disabled list because of a torn left lat (shoulder) muscle, is expected to get at-bats at the team's Spring Training complex in Viera, Fla., according to manager Davey Johnson.
Morse will head to Florida during the team's upcoming road trip, starting Monday in Philadelphia. He is shooting for a return to the big leagues on June 8, when the Nationals play the Red Sox at Fenway Park. He more than likely would be the team's designated hitter during the three games.
Morse will likely not play the outfield until June 15, when the Nats host the Yankees at Nationals Park.
LaRoche: 'I would love to stay' with Nats
WASHINGTON -- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche made it known after Wednesday's 7-4 victory over the Pirates that he would like to stay with the Nationals beyond this season.
LaRoche and the club have a mutual option for the 2013 season, worth $10 million, but have not discussed picking it up, according to LaRoche.
"I wouldn't mind if those talks came up," LaRoche said about the option. "I would love to stay here. Even when I was hurt last year, I could see that things that were happening here. I love the way the guys are treated here, I love the ownership, our staff.
"I told my wife that I would love to play here as long as possible. I like the situation. Whether it happens this year for us or not -- as far as playoff baseball goes -- it's coming, and it's coming real soon. The way things are handled around here, you can sense it."
Entering Thursday's action against Pittsburgh, LaRoche was leading the team in almost every offensive category, including home runs and RBIs.
After missing most of last season because of a shoulder injury, LaRoche is healthy and feeling strong, and has put the club's offseason pursuit of Prince Fielder in the distant past.
"Deep down, as a competitor, I wanted to come back and prove that I can come back from surgery and do what I know I'm capable of doing," said LaRoche. "To come out and do it is nice reassurance."
DeRosa pleased with progress toward return
WASHINGTON -- Infielder/outfielder Mark DeRosa, who is on the disabled list because of a left oblique strain, began baseball activities on Thursday. He took some swings, threw, and did some running drills without any problems.
"Everything is going well," DeRosa said. "It was nice. I'm starting to do baseball activities, which is nice. I never had this injury before. I'm trying to follow what they are telling me to do. I'm pushing it a little more each day. I'm dying to get back."
Manager Davey Johnson is hoping that DeRosa will be playing with the team within a week to 10 days. Before he is activated from the disabled list, DeRosa will go to Florida to get some at-bats.
Despite his absence as a healthy player, DeRosa has been providing valuable leadership to the younger players like Tyler Moore, Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond.
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.