As expected, the Nationals officially placed first baseman Adam LaRoche on the 15-day disabled list with a right quad strain, retroactive to Saturday, and recalled first baseman-outfielder Tyler Moore from Class AAA Syracuse.
LaRoche played through his quad injury for nearly two weeks until he suffered a setback on Friday night and couldn’t complete a game as a designated hitter.
Moore was sent down on Wednesday but could be recalled without waiting the mandated 10 days because he is replacing an injured player. In his two-day stay with Syracuse, he played one game, going 0 for 3 with one walk before returning. He is 6 for 30 with two home runs in the majors so far this season.
Only two days after rejoining the team, Moore was told on Saturday afternoon that he was headed back to the Nationals and he hopped on a 6 p.m. flight from Columbus, Ohio, where Syracuse was playing. He didn’t expect to be back with the major league team so soon after his recent option.
“Definitely not,” he said. “I know Rochy was kinda banged up a little bit. He’s been our hottest hitter and you can’t really replace him definitely. But just hopefully he gets back quick and can help this team. Get in, do my job and see what happens.”
The Nationals will use a combination of Moore and Kevin Frandsen, who has 41 career starts at first base, including 35 last season with Philadelphia. Frandsen started at first base the first two games of the Oakland series and Moore will start the final game Sunday. Moore was mostly confined to the bench during his previous stint with the team because LaRoche was healthy and the outfield was injured, pushing Frandsen to left field. Now, with LaRoche out, Moore may get more playing time at first.
“I’m loving it,” Moore said of his upcoming at-bats. “Hopefully I get ‘em. I’ll just check the lineup every day and hopefully it continues. I get to play some baseball so I’m very excited about that.”
With LaRoche’s injury, now five of the Nationals’ eight lineup regulars have landed on the disabled list 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’ gut punch.
LaRoche has posted a 158 OPS+, which is adjusted to the ballparks. That figure ranks 12th in the major leagues and tops on the Nationals. He is hitting .319/.421/.504 with five home runs and 21 RBI.
“We’ve had a bunch of injuries,” Moore said. “But it’s good to get guys up and get the experience so they can always fill in for future times.”