Nyjer Morgan likes to slide headfirst. The dangerous habit caught up with their leadoff hitter.
Morgan was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a broken left hand, a day after he was injured stealing third base in a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Manager Jim Riggleman said he talked with Morgan a few weeks ago about trying to do it feet-first, which is less hazardous to player's health.
Riggleman said Morgan agreed, but hasn't been able to break the habit. Now he's out for the season.
"I think most guys who are stealing bases the last 10 years, that's the only way they've done it," Riggleman said. "We've just got to really impress on him, and others in the system, that we need to kind of mandate that you're just going to have to learn how to go feet-first."
Morgan hit .307 with 42 steals for Washington and Pittsburgh. Riggleman said he'll miss his defense in center field the most.
"There's nobody in the league hardly like Nyjer, so it'll show up there," Riggleman said. "It can't help but hurt us there."
Riggleman expects Willie Harris to get the bulk of the playing time in center field the rest of the season. Harris was batting only .230 but with a .361 on-base percentage, and had five homers and 21 RBIs in 226 at-bats.
The Nationals purchased the contract of Pete Orr from Syracuse of the International League, and Orr was in the lineup after Cristian Guzman was scratched due to soreness on a bunion.
"It's pretty tender looking and it's been bothering him for about three days, but he's kind of hobbled through it," Riggleman said. "We need to let that thing calm down a little bit."
Washington also shifted right-hander Jordan Zimmermann from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL.
The 30-year-old Orr was hitting .245 with nine homers, 50 RBIs and 18 steals for Syracuse. He's a career .261 hitter in 444 at-bats with the Nationals last season and with the Braves from 2005-07.
The Nats play the Cardinals in St. Louis Cardinals tonight at 7:15 p.m. ET.