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Nats lose Morgan to broken hand

Aug 27, 2009, 6:34 PM EDT

Well, that’s one of the risks that comes with stealing bases. Nyjer Morgan broke his left hand on a head-first slide on Thursday and will likely miss at least a month, if not the rest of the season.
Morgan, who had excelled as the Nationals’ center fielder since coming over from the Pirates, was hurt on his 59th attempt and 42nd successful steal of the year. He was hitting .351/.393/.435 as a Nat and .307/.369/.388 overall for the year. The hot streak may not have held up, but he was making a big difference with his defense. The stats said he was the game’s best left fielder during his time with the Pirates, and those numbers mostly held up after moving back to center in D.C.
With Morgan out of the mix, the Nationals will probably use a lot of Willie Harris in center the rest of the way, making him a nice asset in NL-only leagues. They’d prefer to keep Elijah Dukes in a corner. They may be willing to give Justin Maxwell an opportunity, though he’s been far from dominant while hitting .247/.346/.404 for Triple-A Syracuse. The toolsy 25-year-old has pretty good power and plenty of speed — he’s 34-for-42 stealing bases in the minors — but injuries have robbed him of much-needed development time and he’s fanned 133 times in 108 games this season.

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