Neither he nor Manager Jim Riggleman have any concerns about LaRoche, who is slated to bat cleanup, playing Thursday, opening day.

“Not at all,” LaRoche said. “If it felt as bad as it did when I first got here for spring training, I would still play. And it’s gotten a lot better since then. I don’t think it’s going to be 100 percent anytime soon. Hopefully I can get it up a little bit from what it is now.”

LaRoche has never experienced anything similar before – “I can’t remember ever having a sore arm,” he said. His shoulder made progress early, but since the middle of spring training he has not felt much improvement.

“I just haven’t gotten over that hump,” LaRoche said. “I can throw a little more now. I still can’t let it go. That’s something we’ll try to clean up these next couple days. Not that I have to throw a whole lot with my position, but it would be nice to have it pain-free.”

While LaRoche will sit out today, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman returns after missing 11 days with a strained right groin. “I would suggest he goes about 80 percent on groundballs,” Riggleman said. “Just test it out a little bit. He’s 100-percent ready to go, but I don’t want him to re-aggravate it.”