6/9/2014 11:33 P.M. ET
Morse recalls days with Nationals fondly
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants infielder/outfielder Michael Morse faced the Nationals on Monday for the first time since they dealt him to the Mariners after the 2012 season as part of a three-team trade that netted right-handers A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen from the A's.
Morse had fond memories of spending parts of four seasons with the Nationals. He still keeps in touch with outfielder Jayson Werth and shortstop Ian Desmond and follows what the team is doing on the field.
Morse was the team's MVP in 2011, hitting .303 with 31 home runs and 95 RBIs. How will he feel facing the Nationals for the first time?
"For me, it's going to be like any other game. It's something I kind of turned the page on," Morse said. "The Giants are an unbelievable organization, unbelievable team. I couldn't ask for anything better."
Morse is having a productive season for the Giants, hitting .278 with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs entering Monday's action. It's a comeback for him because last year was his worst year in the big leagues, hitting a combined .215 with 13 home runs and 27 RBIs for the Mariners and Orioles. It didn't help that he was plagued by injuries.
"Last year was a year I don't even think about. I turned the page on it. I battled through some injuries. I was in a tough situation," Morse said. "I don't how, but I was blessed to be able to be picked up by this team [the Giants] in the offseason. It's been incredible."
Morse is with a Giants team that has the best record in baseball. He started at first base and hit fifth Monday. Morse said he is a fan of everyone on the team. He also admires the fact that the Giants won two World Series before he arrived.
"They want to win," Morse said. "They have won before. I come in here, I'm having fun. It's a relaxed atmosphere. Everybody, one through nine, can hit."
Morse will be a free agent after the season, and the Giants and Morse have not talked about a long-term extension.
"I'm just playing and having fun," Morse said. "This is a friendly atmosphere; it's such a great organization. I'm just living the dream every day."
Morse continues to be a fun-loving guy. When he was in Washington, he had T-shirts created called "Beast Mode." Nothing has changed in San Francisco. Teammate Hunter Pence had T-shirts created called "May the Morse be with you."
"We have a lot of quirky stuff going on here," Morse said. "We have battle helmets to shirts to cowboy boots. We have all kind of stuff going. With winning teams, you do that. You have quirky stuff and have fun."
Rendon remains out with sore right thumb
SAN FRANCISCO -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon was not in the lineup for the third consecutive game Monday because of a sore right thumb. Manager Matt Williams hoped he will be back in the lineup by Tuesday's game against the Giants.
"He is a little bit sore still. He hit [in the cage] today," Williams said Monday. "He is a lot better today than he was yesterday, so I think one more day and he will be ready to go tomorrow. He is still a little sore, though."
On Friday against the Padres, Rendon left the game in the top of the sixth inning. He hurt the thumb while making an error two innings earlier off the bat of Carlos Quentin. X-rays on Rendon's thumb were negative. Rendon is listed as day to day.
Nationals agree with fifth-round Draft pick Van Orden
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Nationals have agreed to terms with fifth-round Draft pick Drew Van Orden, according to a baseball source. The right-hander will take his physical in Florida soon.
This past season, Van Orden appeared in 15 games for Duke University and was 6-5 with a career-best 3.19 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 87 1/3 innings.
Van Orden tossed his first career shutout to guide Duke to a 6-0 win over Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament.
The source also said the Nationals have agreed to terms with at least 12 other Draft picks, but none higher than Orden at No. 5.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.