Matt Williams discussed the plan for Adam LaRoche as he works his way back from the quad injury which landed him on the DL when the Washington Nationals' skipper spoke to reporters before a game in the nation's capital earlier this week.
LaRoche, 34, went on the DL on May 11th when the quad injury he was nursing worsened.
Though the Nats' first baseman played through the pain for a couple weeks and was able to manage it while running the bases, Williams explained that it was difficult to deal with the issue when LaRoche was in the infield.
"'When he gets a base hit, he can monitor himself when he’s running,'" he told reporters including The Washington Post's James Wagner. "'But the first two steps playing defense can be difficult for him because you don’t think about them.'"
When LaRoche finally went for an MRI on his right quad, Williams said the results were, "Not as good as we hoped."
"It's a strain," he explained. "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."
LaRoche took the first of several small steps back earlier this week when he took grounders in the infield for the first time.
"He's progressing," Williams said. "He feels good. They've done all the treatment. He's been in the pool. He's been on the field. Took grounders yesterday. Hit in the cage. The progression would be same today, and do some running. Get on the basepaths, turn the bases a little bit in the next couple days. Full BP. And then get in some games. Everything there looks really good. Looks like he's feeling good about it."
LaRoche told reporters yesterday he hoped to return as soon as the DL stint ended on Sunday.
The Potomac Nationals announced on Twitter today that he's penciled in the lineup to play with them tonight:
Once LaRoche is ready to return the Nationals will have a roster decision to make. Tyler Moore has seen the bulk of the time at first base with LaRoche sidelined, but the 27-year-old slugger has struggled when given limited at bats since his first season in the majors in 2012 when he excelled in a bench role in his rookie campaign.
With Greg Dobbs on the roster, the Nationals could send Moore down to get regular at bats at Triple-A Syracuse, though Williams explained that Moore could provide another option in left field if he remains in the majors.
Through 32 games and 133 plate appearances before the DL stint, LaRoche put up a .319/.421/.504 line with six doubles and five home runs.