LaRoche still out with flu, plus Johnson’s plan at first base

The promise of first baseman Adam LaRoche making a quick turnaround and returning to the field tonight is not going to happen. LaRoche is recovering from flu that will keep the veteran out of the starting lineup tonight for a second consecutive game.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said LaRoche might be available only to deke Dodgers manager Don Mattingly into using another pitcher in the late innings. Of course, if Mattingly reads this blog, that probably won’t happen now.

“Adam is real achy, the aftereffects of having a rough night with the flu,” said Johnson. “He is going to come in and be in the back, standing away from everybody. If I need him to come out and decoy, he can probably be able to come out.”

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw gets the nod Sunday, so it is likely Laroche won’t start again until his former team, the Pirates, arrive Monday.

“With a pretty good left-hander going (Sunday), it is probably not going to bother him (to sit an extra day),” said Johnson. “It is the full-blown flu, not just the 24-hour flu. I told him, ‘Don’t rush in here just try to sleep.’ If he feels better, have him come on in.”

Chad Tracy gets the call at first base again tonight. During pregame workouts, Steve Lombardozzi grabbed a first baseman’s mitt to get some fielding practice prior to the second of three games against the Dodgers. It is more than likely Tracy will be at first base Sunday, as well.

Johnson joked about giving Lombardozzi strategy about playing first base.

“I told him it is real easy, you are on the same side of the bag as you are at second,” Johnson smiled. “You just move over a little farther. Instead of tagging him, you just catch it and touch the base. He will be all right.”

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