Lower back stiffness kept Adam LaRoche out of the lineup for the second and third games on the Washington Nationals' road trip to Cincinnati, which saw the Nats drop two of three to the Reds, but the 33-year-old first baseman, who's 0 for 13 so far this season, told reporters on Sunday that he could have played in the series finale. Nationals' manager Davey Johnson opted to rest his veteran infielder and middle-of-the-order bat knowing that he would also get the off day on Monday to recover from the issue, but as Johnson told reporters after the loss on Sunday, he expected LaRoche would be back in the lineup tonight.
"I think he should be back," Johnson said, "He said it loosened up on him and he felt a lot better today, but with the day off [Monday], he could use it." When the Nationals' lineup was announced this afternoon, it did indeed include LaRoche, who'll be looking for his first hit of the year when he faces Chicago White Sox' right-hander Jake Peavy, against whom LaRoche is 4 for 11 with two home runs over the course of their respective careers.
Here's the rest of the Nationals' lineup for the Interleague series opener with the Sox tonight in Nationals Park:
Tonight's #Nationals lineup vs. CWS: Span 8, Werth 9, Harper 7, Zimmerman 5, LaRoche 3, Desmond 6, Espinosa 4, Ramos 2, Gonzalez 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) April 9, 2013
As for the way the team's trip to Ohio went, Davey Johnson told reporters after Sunday's loss that he wasn't too concerned with the way his team played. "First road trip. It's early in the season," Johnson said, "Had a bunch of off days. I thought there was a lot of energy out there, we just didn't get it done."
The Nationals now have six games at home against the White Sox and Atlanta Braves in a much warmer Washington, D.C. than they played in last week.
Gio Gonzalez is on the mound for the Nationals tonight, making his second start of the year after throwing 6.0 scoreless against the Miami Marlins in his 2013 debut. More news to come if there's anything interesting in Davey Johnson's pregame meeting with reporters. GameThread up at 6:35 pm EST.