WASHINGTON -- Nyjer Morgan's latest run-in with a Major League catcher cost him a chance to start against the team that cast him away last month.Brewers manager Ron Roenicke revealed Sunday morning that Morgan suffered a deep bruise to his right thigh in a collision with Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit on Wednesday. That's why Morgan was not in Milwaukee's starting lineup for either game of a Sunday doubleheader against the Nationals. "I knew he was sore but I didn't realize [how sore]," Roenicke said. "He's available to pinch-hit, but that's all." Minus the injury, Morgan might have started both games Sunday. He is 6-for-14 lifetime against Washington's Game 1 starter, Jason Marquis, and 5-for-10 against Game 2 starter Livan Hernandez. Morgan missed an opportunity to play against the team that took away his starting job in Spring Training -- Rick Ankiel is the Nationals' center fielder instead -- and traded him to the Brewers on March 27 for a fringe prospect, infielder Cutter Dykstra. Asked whether Morgan would miss significant time, Roenicke said, "It better be day to day."
Almonte fighting through slow start
WASHINGTON -- Erick Almonte said his Brewers teammates have urged him to avoid checking the scoreboard when he walks up to the plate. That's common advice for a player batting .100.
"Everybody tells me not to, but it's kind of hard not to pay attention," Almonte said. "Especially when you hear fans say, 'Hey, you're hitting a buck-something!' It's hard, but I try to keep it out of my mind and take every at-bat like it's my first one."
Almonte batted .416 in Spring Training and led the Brewers with 32 Cactus League hits. That probably had something to do with the fact he also led the team with 77 spring at-bats.
But in his first 10 regular-season games, including five starts in right field, Almonte is 2-for-20. He started Game 2 of Sunday's doubleheader against the Nationals and went 0-for-3.
"I'm here to play once in awhile and be ready whenever they need me," he said. "It's not the same as a regular player. They probably feel more confident, because you know if you don't do it today, you're going to be back in the lineup the next day for sure. Sometimes, when you don't play very often, you try to do too much when you do get the opportunity. That can happen to everyone."
Almonte has tried to avoid letting that happen, and he has stuck with the up-the-middle approach that served him so well in the spring. He finally got a single to fall in during Friday's start against the Nationals -- Amonte's first hit since his home run against the Reds' Travis Wood in the second game of the season. He was 0-for-12 in the interim.
The cold streak is not uncommon for players who start regularly in the spring and then infrequently in the regular season, manager Ron Roenicke said.
"He has taken a lot of good at-bats. He's had no luck at all," Roenicke said. "That's why I hate to see guys so hot in Spring Training. It's so hard to carry it over. ... He needs to relax, but the only way to relax is getting some hits."
Hawkins could be activated, join 'pen this week
WASHINGTON -- LaTroy Hawkins pitched a second straight day for Triple-A Nashville on Sunday, and barring a setback, his next outing could be in a Brewers uniform.
Sunday's two-out outing in Game 1 of a doubleheader marked Hawkins' fifth appearance on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment during which he's been building strength in his surgically-repaired right shoulder. Hawkins had a rotator cuff and labrum repair last August, and at the end of Spring Training, he was topping out in the low 90-mph range.
Now, his velocity is back and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said the club would discuss reinstating Hawkins from the 15-day disabled list this week.
After beginning his rehab with three appearances with Class A Brevard County, Hawkins made his first appearance for Nashville on Saturday night and retired the first two hitters he faced before walking the next two and reaching his 20-pitch limit. He threw 11 more pitches on Sunday, seven of them strikes, and allowed one hit with one strikeout.
Left-hander Manny Parra, who is on the disabled list with a back injury, also pitched Saturday for Nashville and allowed two runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings. He threw 49 pitches -- 30 for strikes -- and walked two with two strikeouts.