PITTSBURGH -- Nyjer Morgan lost his battle with Nate McLouth for the starting center-field job in Spring Training and eventually was optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis on May 8 after the Pirates acquired Jason Michaels from Cleveland.

Morgan went back to Triple-A with a purpose, and batted .298 in 82 games with Indianapolis with 33 RBIs.

"The first couple of months of the season I was just excited to be here," Morgan explained. "I was kind of in limbo with my situation. I was thinking and trying to press a little bit too much. Once I got sent back down, I just figured it's not in my hands and I've got to just go out and play, and just do what I do and keep my game fresh and keep the opportunity open and show that they still have another outfielder out there that's ready to be in the big leagues."

Morgan was recalled by Pittsburgh on Aug. 19 and has seized the opportunity. He has gone 13-for-35 for a .371 batting average with two doubles, one RBI and five runs scored. He feels he is playing for next season, and that he still has a future in the Pirates organization.

"There is an opportunity here," Morgan said. "But like I said before, it's out of my hands. All I can do is just go out there and play and just show the organization that I want to be here. The only thing I can do is just keep having fun and just enjoy this game."