If you have noticed Adam LaRoche looks a little thinner this season, you are not alone. “Trust me, I got to hear it from Jayson [Werth] every day,” LaRoche said. “He’ll come up and go, ‘Where’d you go? Where’s the other half of you?’”
Over the weekend, LaRoche admitted to a problem most people would love to have: He is underweight and is trying to pack on more. He has been playing at around 200 pounds, about 10 or 15 less than he would prefer. LaRoche endures an annual struggle to keep weight on during the grueling season, but this year has been a particular struggle.
Most ballplayers lose weight during the season, but LaRoche has been more susceptible than most. Since 2006, he has taken Ritalin to combat ADD. He needs it focus, but it also causes him to lose weight.
“That medicine just makes it hard to eat,” LaRoche said. “It hurts your appetite. Nothing tastes real good. Just kind of got to force it down. If you’re not careful, you’ll look up a month later and be dropping some weight.”
The weight loss has been noticeable this year. LaRoche arrived at spring training leaner than usual after an effort to improve his offseason diet at his ranch in Kansas. “Typically in the Midwest it’s fried everything – barbecue, fried everything, all winter long,” LaRoche said. “I started eating a little healthier.”
The extra humidity and heat of this season, LaRoche said, contributed to more weight lost. The flu sacked him at the all-star break, robbing him of strength and more weight. Most years, he loses about 15 pounds over a whole season. By July, after starting smaller than usually, he had already dropped those 15 pounds.
LaRoche’s season has fallen short of his standard. One year after he finished sixth in the NL MVP race, LaRoche is hitting .234/.313/.418 with 16 homers. LaRoche went 4 for his first 45 after the all-star break. He said the weight loss has not been a major contributor, but it hasn’t been nothing, either.
“Typically my second halves have been better, and that’s when I’ve been light,” LaRoche said. “I don’t think that’s as big of a deal. I just feel better with some more weight in the box, when you don’t feel like you’re a skeleton standing up there. It feels nice to have an extra 10, 15 pounds.”
Lately, LaRoche has been working consciously to add them. He drinks protein shakes and eats peanut butter late at night before going to bed. “I eat anything,” LaRoche said. “I think more the more fattening, the better. If that’s ice cream, protein, whatever I can do to put on weight. I’m not as concerned as I was about healthy food in the winter.”
LaRoche began his protein shake regimen about a week ago. Over the weekend, he hit two home runs, and last night he ripped an RBI double to the gap. It could be only coincidence. At the very least, he may not hear from Werth quite as much.