For the second straight day, first baseman Adam LaRoche played in an intrasquad minor league game in order to test his sprained left ankle and hone his timing at the plate. LaRoche ran a little harder today than yesterday, and he feels confident he can make his spring debut Saturday, when the Nationals have split-squads games.
“It felt better than I thought it would,” LaRoche said. “I still feel it, but turning’s not as bad. I just don’t want to do something where we’re back to square one. That’s why I’m coming down here and not playing in those games right now, to make sure I can take it easy. But I like it down here, anyway. I get to see more pitches, more at-bats, track a bunch of pitches. It’s what I needed.”
LaRoche focused primarily on working counts to see as many pitches as he could, but he did hit a home run off left-handed prospect Robbie Ray. “I hit four balls off the end of the bat yesterday, so I told them I had to come back today and redeem myself,” LaRoche said.
The problem for LaRoche, who sprained his ankle last week as he attempted to come back from left shoulder surgery, had been turning around bases. Five or six days ago, he felt fine sprinting in a straight line, but turning still aggravates the ankle. He felt good enough today that he hopes to play in a real game Saturday.
“I think what they’re worried about is getting in a situation where I’m trying to score from first or something’s going on in the game where I have to turn a base really hard,” LaRoche said. “But if I can be semi-careful with that for the next few days, then I’ll hopefully get this thing behind us.”