MIAMI -- A day after not being penciled into the lineup in the series finale with St. Louis, Washington outfielder Nyjer Morgan was batting in the eighth hole to begin a series at Florida on Monday.
Morgan, used to batting near the top of the order, received heavy criticism from manager Jim Riggleman and his teammates for needlessly bumping Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson in the Nationals' 14-5 victory on Saturday. Morgan also batted eighth in the game. The day off gave him more time to ponder what happened Saturday.
"It's [the manager's] thoughts that I shouldn't be in the lineup," said Morgan, who also has suffered his worst offensive month of the year in August, batting .260. "I guess it was perceived as a nasty play, that I was intentionally trying to hurt somebody instead of asking me about the situation ... which was very uncomfortable, but I'm not going to go out and throw fuel on the fire.
"I'm just going to be as professional as I can about the situation. I thought I should have been in [the lineup] Sunday."
Morgan's main concern is that he's going to get a bad reputation because of the play.
"I don't want to be perceived as a dirty player," Morgan said. "It was just an intense play. I kinda grazed [Anderson], which wasn't in my eyes intentional. I guess I should have slid, next time I'll slide."
Riggleman said his decision to move Morgan to the eighth spot was based on his recent reduction in on-base percentage, but he would like Morgan to reclaim his spot atop the order. Morgan, who has 31 stolen bases this season, has only three in August to go with 11 hits this month.
"I think our ballclub is best when he's leading off or maybe batting second," Riggelman said. "It's got to get to a point where we're getting more of the .340, .350, .360 on-base percentage for him to really nail that spot down for us. He's done a lot more of that -- he's really brought that [on-base-percentage] up.
"I think he will get back to where he was last year. There's no question our ballclub will fare better with him at the top of the lineup."
Morgan planned to approach Monday's game with the same intensity -- even if it's from the bottom of the order.
"He's the skipper and he's gonna make those calls," Morgan said. "I could care less where I'm batting in the lineup. It doesn't get to me. I mean I know where I should be at in the lineup."
As for Saturday's gaffe, Morgan would do things differently.
"I should have maybe apologized to him at the time," Morgan said of Anderson.
Storen showing glimpses of future as closer
MIAMI -- Althought Drew Storen pitched the first four-out save of his young Major League career in Sunday's 4-2 victory over St. Louis, manager Jim Riggleman is not ready to anoint him as the team's closer.
"[Storen is] not the closer, he's finishing games for us when the situation says that he's the guy to do it," Riggleman said. "We've just got to get the outs in the ninth. I hope that Storen shows me that it's clearly his job. That it doesn't mater who's coming to the plate or that there's three outs or five outs. But he's 23 years old, he's new at this and there's a growing process."
Storen experienced a growing pain on Sunday, when he allowed a Pedro Feliz home run to make it a two-run game in the ninth. Yadier Molina reached on an error, putting the tying run at the plate, but Storen struck out pinch-hitter Colby Rasmus to earn his third save.
"[The four-out save] is tough to do in the Major Leagues," said Storen, who said in college and in the Minors he sometimes was called on to pitch two- and three-inning saves.
Storen said his main objective is not to get comfortable in his current role.
"The second you start feeling complacent is when you start running into trouble," he said.
Others who have helped pitch the eighth and ninth innings for the Nationals have included Sean Burnett (against predominantly lefty hitters), Tyler Clippard and Joel Peralta.
El Duque leaves Nats with no callup coming
MIAMI -- The same weekend Livan Hernandez learned of his one-year contract securing him a pitching spot with the Nationals in 2011, his half-brother -- Orlando Hernandez -- left Double-A Harrisburg after learning from general manager Mike Rizzo that he would not be called up in September.
"His expectation was to be a September callup," Rizzo said. "With the additional guys that we're going to put on the roster, I felt it wasn't warranted at this time."
Hernandez -- also known as El Duque -- is 44, and had a 1.72 ERA, 21 strikeouts and five walks in 15 2/3 innings with Harrisburg and the Rookie Gulf Coast League Nationals. El Duque could have finished the season in the Nationals Minor League system, but chose to leave Sunday. Livan said his half-brother will try to catch on with another club next season, and has no ill-feelings toward the Nationals.
"He pitched well and was happy to get the chance," Livan said.
Rizzo reveals Nats' prospects headed to AFL
MIAMI -- Mike Rizzo on Monday revealed the six Nationals prospects who will participate in the Arizona Fall League. It's not quite as star-studded a list as last year's crop, which included Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, Chris Marrero and Danny Espinosa. But it's got some intriguing names nonetheless.
The full list headed to Arizona in October:
OF Michael Burgess
RHP Adam Carr
RHP Cole Kimball
INF Stephen Lombardozzi
C Derek Norris
LHP Sammy Solis
The Nationals are expecting Stephen Strasburg to undergo surgery before the end of this week. ... With a victory Monday at Florida, Washington would match its season-long win streak with three straight (accomplished five times). ... Nationals pitchers didn't issue a walk in Sunday's 4-2 win against the Cards, and on Saturday they walked just one. ... Washington is 22-44 on the road compared to 34-31 at home. ... Ian Desmond is batting .361 in August, raising his average from .254 to .279. ... Mike Morse is batting .667 (8-for-12) in his past three games.
Faran Fagen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.