Adam LaRoche, the Nationals’ best player so far this season, is heading to the 15-day disabled list, according to Manager Matt Williams, after an MRI exam on Saturday revealed a worse quad strain than expected. LaRoche had been playing with a sore right quad for over two weeks but struggled to do so, hobbling as he ran around the bases and at his position.
Williams said the Nationals would announce the move on Sunday morning. He wouldn’t reveal the corresponding move but said that first baseman-outfielder Tyler Moore, who is at Class AAA Syracuse, could be an option. Because of LaRoche’s injury, Moore wouldn’t be required to stay in the minor leagues the standard 10 days before being recalled.
“It sucks not being able to go out there every night and battle with the guys,” LaRoche said. “The one thing I do feel pretty good about is that I gave it every opportunity to try to go out and play through it and see if this thing would go away. The last couple days have proven that it’s not going to happen. Probably 10 days of hurting. Every time I’d make a move it wasn’t going to be better. Try and take two weeks to try and make it right or risk six or eight weeks.”
With LaRoche’s injury, now five of the Nationals eight lineup regulars have landed on the disabled list at some point this season. The Nationals have stayed afloat despite injuries to and disabled list stints for Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Denard Span, Wilson Ramos and Doug Fister. Span, Fister and Ramos have returned, the last two this week, but LaRoche may be the Nationals’ biggest blow.
Through 35 games, LaRoche, 34, has posted a 158 OPS+, which is adjusted to the ballparks. That figure ranks 10th in the major and tops on the Nationals. He is hitting .319/.421/.504 with five home runs and 21 RBI. Williams had originally hoped for LaRoche to play first base on Saturday, but Kevin Frandsen was used for the second straight game. Frandsen and Moore would be the likely options to fill in for LaRoche during his absence.
“Nobody’s gonna feel sorry for us,” Williams said. “We’ve got to play. We’ve got to give ourselves opportunities like we did tonight, and continue to do that.”
Even though the strain had improved in recent days, LaRoche suffered a setback while serving as the Nationals designated hitter on Friday night. He left after two at-bats and seven innings, and then underwent an MRI on Saturday morning. LaRoche said the MRI “didn’t look great” and revealed a strain, essentially a tear.
LaRoche said he hopes he can return after 15 days. He originally suffered the injury when a groundball hit him in the leg in late April, but then worsened as he played on it.
“The one thing I’m excited about is going five or six days without doing anything on it,” LaRoche said. “I think every time I’ve gone out there I’ve kinda just picked the scab and not allowed it heal.”