What was first described as "soreness" in the left shoulder of Washington Nationals' first baseman Adam LaRoche, kept him from playing the field early this Spring. As Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman told Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin at the time, however, in a 3/6/11 Nationals Journal post entitled, "LaRoche still day-to-day with mild shoulder soreness", the 31-year-old former Braves' prospect who played for Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Boston and Arizona over the course of his seven-year career, was just being cautious:
"'He actually has never gone through this before. Most guys do experience a little soreness and work through it. But this is totally new for him, so we're being a little precautionary.'"
LaRoche did start playing the field soon afterwards. After going 15 for 41 (.366 AVG) in 14 games in which he doubled four times, walked seven times and drove in 10 runs, LaRoche was pulled from the lineup last week with reports saying that he'd missed two-to-three days with what an AP story at SI.com entitled, "Nats sit 1B LaRoche three games with sore shoulder", once again described as a "sore left shoulder" for which LaRoche had undergone an MRI.
"'He's fine to play with it, just in a relay throw he'd like to be able to take a relay throw,'" Riggleman told the AP reporter, but, "Right now he's not comfortable to air it out." LaRoche, the article reported, was hoping that it was simply a pinched nerve.
During an interview on MASN the other night, LaRoche reported that he'd had a cortisone shot in his shoulder, and now this afternoon, following the Nats' 6-4 loss to the Marlins, reports have emerged which say that the MRI revealed a "slight tear" in LaRoche's rotator cuff. CSN Washington writer Mark Zuckerman, in an article entitled, "LaRoche will play with slight shoulder tear", quotes team officials who say, "...the tear is minor enough to not require surgery for now, only treatment." "Adam LaRoche's shoulder injury is not considered serious. He will be the Opening day first baseman Thursday," MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) wrote on Twitter. Will LaRoche be able to play an entire season with the tear? Should we expect to see a lot of Michael Morse and Matt Stairs at first in 2011? How is Chris Marrero's development coming along?