Adam LaRoche has been nursing a right quad injury, but he was in Friday night's lineup as the designated hitter when the Washington Nationals took on the Oakland A's in the first game of the three-game set in the O.co Coliseum. LaRoche left the game after two plate appearances, however, with Zach Walters taking over for him.
Before the second game of the series tonight, Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters in Oakland for the weekend series, including the Washington Post's James Wagner, that the Nationals were considering sending the 34-year-old first baseman to the DL, pending the results of an MRI.
Williams explained that the real problem for LaRoche was on defense.
"'When he gets a base hit, he can monitor himself when he’s running,'" he told the WaPost's Mr. Wagner, "'But the first two steps playing defense can be difficult for him because you don’t think about them.'"
As much as they wanted to keep him in the lineup, Williams explained, they needed to consider LaRoche's long-term health, so a DL stint was a distinct possibility.
After tonight's game, the Nationals confirmed that LaRoche was, in fact, being placed on the 15-Day DL:
Asked about the results of the MRI after tonight's 4-3 walk-off loss to the A's, Williams said the news was not good.
"Not as good as we hoped," he told reporters. "We're going to have to put him on the DL. So we'll do that tomorrow and make a decision in the morning."
The "decision," of course, is on who will be called up to replace LaRoche. Tyler Moore would seem the likeliest candidate since he can play first while LaRoche is out.
Though he was optioned back to Triple-A Syracuse after Wednesday's win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in D.C., Moore could be called up without waiting the requisite 10 days since there is an injury and DL stint involved.
"We'll talk about it right now and see what we want to do," Williams said. "But no word as to that yet. But [LaRoche] will go on the DL tomorrow."
As for the results of the MRI?
"It's a strain. It's high quad, hip flexor. Something that we've been nursing and he's been nursing. Before it gets too bad -- don't want to do it, but for the long-term health of Adam and our team, it's probably important to do that right now and make sure we can calm it as much as possible."
The injury is another costly one for the Nationals who just got Wilson Ramos, Scott Hairston and Doug Fister back from the DL. Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper remain on the Disabled List with thumb injuries. Now LaRoche, who has a .319/.421/.504 line with six doubles and five home runs after 32 games and 133 plate appearances is headed to the DL as well.
"Ain't nobody going to feel sorry for us," Williams said. "We've got to play. We've got to give ourselves opportunities like we did tonight and continue to do that."