Nats cope with the heat of a D.C. summer


Adam LaRoche is especially cautious dealing with the heat as he tries to maintain his weight through the season. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Some like it this hot. The heat and humidity combination reminds third baseman Anthony Rendon of growing up in Texas. Catcher Jose Lobaton said it’s no worse than his home of Venezuela.

But Washington summers are not for everyone. Left fielder Scott Hairston said he could feel himself tiring more easily during batting practice in the sun yesterday. Though several Nationals prefer Washington’s summer humidity and 90-degree temperatures to colder climates, all are being encouraged to make adjustments.

“It takes you about a minute and a half to get loose,” Manager Matt Williams said. “But you wear down faster.”

Pedialyte and Gatorade are staples. Hairston has taken in 32 more ounces of water per day than normal. He said chewing on salty sunflower seeds helps keep a higher salt intake in the body.

First baseman Adam LaRoche, who struggled to keep his weight up last season, fielded ground balls early by himself, then had batting practice inside to keep from sweating too much in the mid-day sun. Other Nationals took batting practice on the field.

“He’s been strong the whole year, but that’s certainly a modification we can make from time to time depending on the weather,” Williams said.

Williams said the amount of time players hit outside is being cut down from 15-minute groups to 10-minute ones. The training staff is encouraging hydrating even more than normal.

“Even during batting practice and just running around the outfield, just after a couple minutes you’re pretty much exhausted,” Hairston said. “You never get used to it, but a lot of guys here that have played here for the last few years know what to expect, so that helps, too. You almost have to hydrate a few days in advance.”

Lobaton doesn’t like to change much about his preparation, but he said he sips more water between innings now. He could feel a noticeable difference with the humidity in Tuesday’s game against the Astros. It was 92 degrees at first pitch.

He’s even been sweating indoors.

“It was so humid yesterday,” Lobaton said. “I think in the moment when you’re playing, you don’t feel too much. There’s adrenaline during the game, but you’re going to feel it more after the game. It feels like, oh wow, it was a long game and really hot.”

Isabelle Khurshudyan covers high school sports for The Washington Post.
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