Kevin Frandsen started last night as Washington Nationals' first baseman Adam LaRoche took a game off to let a tight back rest. After a rough month of July in which he put up a .159/.238/.227 line with three doubles and a home run in 24 games and 101 plate appearances, the 34-year-old, middle-of-the-order bat has put up a .264/.390/.540 line so far in August, with six doubles and six home runs in 25 games and 105 PAs.
One of those doubles and two of the home runs came during Nats' recently-completed homestand which saw him go 8 for 35 (.229/.386/.429) with nine walks and nine Ks in 10 games and 44 PAs.
Nationals' manager Matt Williams wanted to get LaRoche a night off last night in the second game of three in Citizens Bank Park, but he turned to him in the ninth, with the score 4-3 in the home team's favor, hoping for an extra base hit off Philadelphia Phillies' closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Asked if he could have entered the game earlier as, say a defensive replacement, giving the Nationals a few extra inches in height over Frandsen, who came off the base on a high throw from Ian Desmond, allowing the eventual winning run on in the bottom of the eighth, Williams said LaRoche could have come in before the top of the ninth.
Williams says LaRoche has been dealing with a tight back for the last few days and will be back in the lineup tonight. #Nationals— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) August 27, 2014
"He could have," Williams said. "But we're trying to stay away from him too. But in that situation we don't have a choice. We're down by a run, we need an extra base hit. So... we're trying to stay away from him tonight if we can, turned out we couldn't."
In an appearance on the MLB Network Radio show "Inside Pitch" this morning, Williams was asked for an update on the 11-year veteran, who has spent the past four seasons in the nation's capital.
"He's fine," Williams told hosts Jim Memolo and Todd Hollandsworth. "I wanted to stay away from him last night, if possible. It turned out he got one at bat against Papelbon in the ninth, but he'll be okay today. He deals with a tight back every once in a while. He's had it for three of four days now, so, again, the long homestand and playing extra innings and being on base a lot is a good thing, but it also takes a little toll on his back. He'll be good today, with another off day tomorrow he should be fine. And there's no worries about Adam, he'll be back in there tonight."
When the lineup was released just a few minutes ago, LaRoche was back in for the finale of the Nats' three-game set in CBP: