VIERA, Fla. - Unfortunately for Adam LaRoche, this spring is showing a lot of similarities to last, when he came down with a shoulder injury which just kept hanging around.
LaRoche tried to battle through the discomfort, but eventually, he needed season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum.
This year it's a foot injury which is lingering, and LaRoche can just hope that his fate is a little better this time around.
"It's scary how much it sounds like last spring training, when it was supposedly no big deal," said LaRoche, with a twinge of frustration in his voice.
LaRoche thought the discomfort on the outside of his foot would dissipate after he took some time off early in spring, but when he returned to Grapefruit League action last week, he still felt something when making turns around the bases.
He had an MRI on the foot, which revealed a bone bruise and some cartilage issues, and as a result, he's been held out of games the last three days. LaRoche's plan from here is to let the foot rest while still getting some at-bats at minor league camp, where he can take his cuts without having to run the bases. The veteran first baseman said he expects to begin running the bases again in about a week.
"I really feel like this is going to be put behind us shortly, I just don't want to string it out longer than I need to," LaRoche said. "So I'm going to give it a few days, probably go back down on the minor league side, get a bunch of at-bats, and then we'll go from there."
The foot injury is wearing on LaRoche, but at least he's still able to hit and run in a straight line, and thus can participate in most baseball activities. He'll continue to see pitches and be able to hone his stroke and timing, which he says is the most important thing at this point.
"As long as I'm seeing some pitching, I don't care if it's coming out of an 18-year-old's hand or someone in the big leagues, I just don't want to fall a week behind as far as seeing live pitching," LaRoche said.
The Nationals will continue to take a cautious approach with LaRoche (as well as left fielder Michael Morse, who is dealing with a lingering lat strain), knowing that there's still nearly three weeks until opening day. The last thing they want at this point is to rush either of those guys back and have them suffer a setback which would compromise their availability for the start of the regular season.
"If this is in-season, this is a non-issue," LaRoche said. "It hurts, it's uncomfortable, but I can play. It's just the more I round bases, the more it flares up. And I want it to be totally gone, obviously, when we start the season."