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Posted at 06:09 PM ET, 05/06/2012

Adam LaRoche has bruise, not strain, in oblique

(Mark J. Terrill - AP)
Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche underwent an MRI exam today that revealed a bruise – not a dreaded strain – in his sore right oblique. The promising development could allow LaRoche to return Tuesday in Pittsburgh after he missed the past three games.

“That’s really good news,” LaRoche said. “That’s great to hear.”

LaRoche swung today at roughly 60 percent strength, his first swings since the Nationals scratched him roughly an hour before Thursday night’s 2-1 victory over the Diamondbacks. He hopes to take batting practice Monday, an off day for the Nationals, and could play Tuesday when the Nationals begin a six-game trip.

LaRoche has felt less and less pain in his oblique over the past three days. He first hurt it while diving for a ball Wednesday night.

“I can’t say it’s perfect,” LaRoche said. “Obviously, I could go check swing or do something to fire it back up. All in all, it’s pretty good news. It’s a good progression.”

LaRoche has been the Nationals’ best hitter this season, batting .311/.392/.511. But the Nationals have not missed LaRoche, at least on offense, because of Chad Tracy. In three starts in LaRoche’s place, Tracy has gone 5 for 11 with two home runs and a walk.

With LaRoche’s MRI exam revealing only a bruise, the Nationals have seemingly avoided placing yet another player on the disabled list. Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Chien-Ming Wang, Brad Lidge, Mark DeRosa and Drew Storen are currently on the DL.

By  |  06:09 PM ET, 05/06/2012

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