Programming note: For comprehensive Giants-Nationals coverage from Washington, watch ‘October Quest’ today at 11 a.m. and immediately following the game on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
WASHINGTON -- Michael Morse won’t get a chance to take on his former team in the NL Division Series. But the Giants still hope to get him ready in case they get past the Washington Nationals and advance to the NLCS.
Although the Giants left Morse off their NLDS roster, manager Bruce Bochy said he was encouraged after watching the right-handed power hitter take batting practice on the field for a second consecutive day.
Morse, who has seen minimal live pitching since straining his left oblique Aug. 31, is expected to report to instructional league in Arizona on Monday to get at-bats against Giants prospects.
“Actually, his batting practice was pretty good,” said Bochy, who kept outfielder Gary Brown on the roster instead of adding Morse. “Is he 100 percent? No. Taking that into play, along with he hadn't faced pitching in about a month, we just decided to go with Brown. He would give us a few more options versus the one pinch‑hit appearance maybe by Morse. Again, not having seen pitching, we didn't think he was quite ready.”
The Giants added starting pitchers Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong to the NLDS roster while subtracting infielder Adam Duvall and third-string catcher Guillermo Quiroz. Other than that, there were no changes from the wild card roster that Bochy rolled out in Pittsburgh.
[RELATED: Giants set roster for NLDS]
The Nationals have two ex-Giants, Nate Schierholtz and Kevin Frandsen, on their active roster but bypassed Scott Hairston, which should come as a relief to many Giants fans. Although Hairston isn’t much of a power hitter these days, the 34-year-old has 14 homers in 222 career at-bats against the Giants -- most of them backbreaking shots in the late innings.
The Nationals also omitted left-hander Ross Detwiler and carried former closer Rafael Soriano, who was an All-Star in the first half before losing his position to Drew Storen.
Neither Bochy nor Nationals manager Matt Williams has named a Game 4 starter, but the assumption is that Ryan Vogelsong would get the ball against Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez.
Vogelsong and Yusmeiro Petit will be available in relief in these two games at Nationals Park, Bochy said.
If Gonzalez starts in Game 4, Bochy would be faced with a choice: stay with Brandon Belt at first base, or move Buster Posey there and start catcher Andrew Susac to get another right-handed bat in the lineup. Bochy said he hadn’t decided, but in all likelihood, Posey would catch every game in the series.
If there’s one huge X-factor in this series, it’s right-hander Stephen Strasburg. He finally gets a chance to start a postseason game after so much was made of the decision to sit him out two years ago. How will he respond in Game 1?
Whether he shuts down the Giants or self-immolates on the mound, Bochy plans to treat every game like it’s the win-or-die showdown in Pittsburgh.
“When you are in the postseason, every game, I think should be played like that -- like there is no tomorrow,” Bochy said. “We do things a bit different in the postseason.”