PHILADELPHIA -- If the Nationals want Christian Garcia to start games, he's more than happy to do so. And if they want him to remain a reliever, he's fine with that, too.

The rookie sees it in the simplest of terms, spending his first weeks in the big leagues, and making a splash doing so. Entering play Tuesday, Garcia had appeared in nine games out of the bullpen, striking out 11 in eight innings while scattering three runs (two homers) and seven hits.

But it's manager Davey Johnson's comments from Monday about possibly moving Garcia to the rotation next year that has the promising right-hander reflecting on his role.

"It's up to them what they want me to do," Garcia said. "I just like to play baseball. Whether they want me to relieve or start, it's up to them."

Johnson said Monday that the 2004 Yankees Draft pick and former starting prospect -- Garcia twice had Tommy John surgery -- has the pitches to be a starting candidate, and pitching coach Steve McCatty agrees that the transformation could begin next Spring Training.

Even through his surgeries, Garcia remained a starter in the Yankees' organization. It was only when he signed with the Nationals last summer that he was converted to a relief role.

"Right now, I really like relieving. Also, when I was a starter, I loved starting," Garcia said. "I could control the game. The game was on me. And I liked that, too. Each job has its perks. Whichever one they want me to do, I'll be more than happy doing."

Garcia struck out 66 in 52 1/3 innings of work with a 0.86 ERA split between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse this season. He hadn't pitched since Saturday because of some bicep soreness, but he said it's subsided entirely and Johnson said Garcia would be available for the entire Philadelphia series

Morse returns despite nagging left wrist issues

PHILADELPHIA -- The issues with Michael Morse's left wrist have been touch-and-go for a few weeks now, and it seems that will remain the case for the rest of the year.

Morse was back in the Nationals' lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Phillies after taking the day off Monday to rest the nagging injury, but manager Davey Johnson admitted he's not real confident in state of the outfielder's ailment.

"But the doctors determined he can't really hurt it worse," Johnson said. "He wants to play, and I want him in there. We'll see how it goes."

Johnson said Morse received an anti-inflammatory shot -- "a full dose of everything," Johnson said -- although the outfielder told Johnson he was even expecting to play Monday against the Brewers. The Nationals fared just fine without the slugger in the 12-2 romp.

But without Morse in the heart of the order -- he's hitting .288 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in an injury-shortened season -- the Nationals' lineup can be drastically different due to the domino effect.

"He was our cleanup hitter last year, and he's had a great year," Johnson said. "We need him warming up and doing the things he's capable of doing. Everything in the offense is clicking when he's right in the heart of the middle of the order."