• Adam LaRoche's Ailing Shoulder: Adam LaRoche's injured shoulder has been a cause of concern for some time now, as the notoriously slow starter has been off to a slower than usual start in the 31-year-old first baseman's first season with the Washington Nationals. Initial reports, during Spring Training, of the former Atlanta Braves' Draft pick experiencing discomfort while throwing led to an MRI which revealed a slight tear in the labrum in LaRoche's left shoulder which the veteran infielder said was not affecting his swing. After 43 games, however, in which LaRoche has hit just .172 (26 for 151) with a .288 OBP, .258 SLG, .205 BABIP, the Nats' first baseman will reportedly have his shoulder re-examined, as MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) reports this morning on Twitter that, "Nats 1B Adam LaRoche said he is getting his left shoulder checked out tomorrow. He is beginning to feel the injury is hurting his swing." In a follow-up note on Twitter, the MLB.com writer noted that LaRoche was not yet sure if he would be examined in Milwaukee, where the Nats head next after today's series finale with Baltimore or back in the nation's capital.
LaRoche got a mention this morning in Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo's Sunday "Baseball Notes" column, which this week is entitled, "Does game time really have to be show time?", with Mr. Cafardo noting that even with his slow start (and of course, this is before this morning's announcement), in past seasons, "LaRoche has been a good get at the trading deadline, because that’s when he starts to heat up. He is also a good-fielding first baseman, and as his short time in Boston showed, he loves to hit the other way." Whether or not the Nats had any intention of trading LaRoche at this year's deadline, is pure speculation.
LaRoche signed a two-year/$16 million dollar deal with Washington this past winter, and there aren't too many first base prospects knocking on the Nationals Park clubhouse door. Chris Marrero, the Nats' top pick in the '06 Draft, hasn't been talked about as being major-league ready anywhere that I've read, and after that it's Tyler Moore (at Double-A this year) and chatter about moving Derek Norris out from behind the plate, talk which hasn't been substantiated by anyone within the organization at this point. Michael Morse is at first this afternoon in Baltimore, but his own struggles at the plate, which do not appear to be injury-related, make him a questionable option at first should LaRoche's injury prove to be more severe than it was originally believed to be.