NEW YORK -- For as good as the Nationals' bullpen has been this season, they may have found another reliable piece for the stretch run.
Rookie Christian Garcia had appeared in five games this month for Washington entering play Wednesday, striking out seven in five complete innings with a 1.80 ERA. He has allowed four hits and one earned run -- a Giancarlo Stanton solo home run -- while walking none.
The right-hander has impressed in late-game situations after recording 21 saves this season -- along with a 0.86 ERA in 45 appearances -- between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse.
"I think it's just more of a comfort level," Garcia said. "It's the kind of person I am. I like being in spots where there's pressure. I tend to do better when those opportunities arise."
Garcia was a third-round pick of the Yankees in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, but had two Tommy John surgeries before he was signed by the Nationals last summer. Now he's contributing during a pennant chase with a chance at earning a playoff spot.
"I really like the way I've seen him throw," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He has an outstanding repertoire of stuff. He's got some great weapons. The sinker he threw [David Wright on Tuesday], they were raving about it on the mound."
Morse will miss a few days to rest left wrist
NEW YORK -- Nationals outfielder Michael Morse went for tests on his injured left wrist on Wednesday, and they revealed a bone bruise and slight tear in the sheath encasing the wrist, which will require at least a few days off.
"Just get better now," Morse said. "We asked for anything we can do, and they said the best thing is to just let it calm down."
Morse and manager Davey Johnson said the outfielder would sit out Wednesday's series finale -- Roger Bernadina batted sixth and played left field -- and rest on Thursday's off-day before re-evaluating on Friday in Atlanta.
"His left hand is his dominant hand when he's hitting," Johnson said. "It's been bothering him about a month and he's been trying to play through it."
Morse injured his right hand when jammed during an at-bat in San Francisco in August and when he favored that hand, he said he overcompensated with his left and injured the left wrist.
"He got hit on his right hand, but his left hand is his dominant hand and he drags the bat through with it with a lot of force, that's why he's got tremendous power," Johnson said. "Obviously it's been bothering him. His bat's been slow. He's had to cheat to get through it."
Johnson said the sheath was inflamed and Morse would receive some anti-inflammatory medication. The Nationals planned to send the test on to Baltimore for a specialist to examine.
Morse, batting .285 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs this season, has been slowed by injuries all season and has appeared in just 88 games.
"It's been a tough year. Tough year," Morse said. "I try to help the team as much as possible."
Infielder Danny Espinosa was away from the team on Wednesday to be with his family after the death of his grandmother. Steve Lombardozzi filled in at second base, in just the second game that Espinosa has missed all season. Espinosa tweeted Wednesday afternoon from his Twitter handle @DannyEspinosa18, "Thank you everyone for the prayers and thoughts :) I will be back in ATL on Thursday ready to play Friday." Johnson said reliever Sean Burnett, who has not pitched since Sept. 2 due to nerve irritation in his left elbow, was available out of the bullpen on Wednesday night. Though the Nationals have shut down ace Stephen Strasburg -- Wednesday was scheduled to be his final start of the season, but the Nationals cut him off after his last home outing on Friday -- Johnson joked that they still may have a role for him.
"I check on him," Johnson said. "I told him yesterday, gave him something to think about and said, 'Keep taking batting practice. I might need your bat. We can't use your arm. We'll use your bat."
Johnson was half-serious, but Strasburg is known for his prowess at the plate. He is a .277 hitter this year, with four doubles, one home run and seven RBIs in 47 official at-bats.