DENVER -- Michael Morse missed the first 50 games of the season with a right lat strain, so it's not surprising it's taken him some time to get back in a groove since being activated June 1.

In his first two games back, Morse went 0-for-8 with three strikeouts, and his batting average after 10 games was .200. But Morse, who hit .303 with a career-high 31 home runs in 2011, has been better since, including a 4-for-5, 2 RBIs night on Tuesday against the Rockies. His current batting average of .250 is as high as it's been all season.

"All it takes sometimes is one game, two games [to get on track]," manager Davey Johnson said.

The power numbers still haven't come back for Morse, whose .352 slugging percentage would be the second-lowest of his career. Morse had a .550 slugging mark last year. Morse had hit just one homer entering Wednesday's game against Colorado.

"I still don't think he's exactly where he needs to be, he's hitting most of his balls hard the other way and I need him hitting his balls all over," Johnson said. "It's not easy to be out two or three months, but I think he'll be fine."

After two-homer game, LaRoche sits

DENVER -- Before the Nationals began a four-game road series against the Rockies, manager Davey Johnson approached Adam LaRoche and told the 32-year-old first baseman he'd be taking a day off at some point during the week.

LaRoche had the power to choose whom he wanted to face, and whether he wanted to play a day or night game. He knew he wanted to face hard-throwing Josh Outman -- who will pitch Thursday for the Rockies.

"He likes to hit fastballs," Johnson said.

He also knew he wanted to play Tuesday's night game. So it was determined that Wednesday would be a good day for rest.

The fact that LaRoche recorded his first multi-HR game of the season on Tuesday night in a 12-5 win made it a bit more painful for Johnson to follow through on his pre-planned decision.

"Anytime I have a conversation with [LaRoche], he just goes off," Johnson said. "I told him I'd give him [Wednesday] off and then he hits two home runs. But it's a lot easier to rest after that kind of day than after an 0-fer."

Tyler Moore -- who also homered on Tuesday night -- moved from left field to first base and Mark DeRosa made his first start in left field since returning from the disabled list on Monday.

Worth noting

• Right-handed reliever Henry Gonzalez, on the disabled list since June 6 with a strained right index finger, threw one inning with two strikeouts and one walk on Wednesday in a rehab appearance for Double-A Harrisburg.

• Infielder Chad Tracy, on the 15-day disabled list since May 28 with a right adductor strain, is taking part in baseball activities, but Johnson wants to be cautious in bringing him back too quickly, citing Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki as an example.

Tulowitzki reinjured his groin in a rehab assignment in mid-June, requiring surgery that will have him out for six to eight weeks.

"I don't want to do anything to aggravate Tracy," Johnson said.