Gonzalez’s throw day pushed back, LaRoche inches closer to activation

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez’s progression toward a throwing program hit a small bump in the road Friday, when left shoulder stiffness scrapped his plans to throw.

Nationals manager Matt Williams didn’t seem too concerned with the setback, telling reporters who expressed concern before his team’s game at PNC Park against the Pirates, “It’s only a day.”

“He’s a little stiff still, so he’ll continue his rehab program and we’ll look to push him back a day as far as his throwing program goes,” Williams said. “A little more strengthening today.”

Williams was quick to point out that, while the Nats scheduled certain portions of his rehabilitation, they have to be able to adapt for things like a stiff shoulder. Gonzalez is on the 15-day disabled list after being diagnosed with inflammation, but no structural damage, in his throwing shoulder.

“It’s normal. We set out the plan and try to go to that plan, but sometimes you have to make adjustments,” the manager said.

When he’s ready to throw, Gonzalez will go through the regular progression of throwing from flat ground, throwing from a longer distance on flat ground and then throwing a bullpen session. He might avoid a minor league rehabilitation assignment if he can stay with the Nats and throw a simulated game, but that’s dependent on the team’s schedule and Gonzalez’s progress.

Williams said that right-hander Blake Treinen will stay in Gonzalez’s spot in the rotation for the time being.

While Gonzalez was temporarily put on hold, first baseman Adam LaRoche inched closer to being activated off the 15-day DL, where he’s been since injuring his left quad on May 10. LaRoche is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday.

LaRoche played last night for Single-A Potomac and will move to Double-A Harrisburg tonight. The only issue so far: He hasn’t run the bases yet, having flied out and lined out in two at-bats for the P-Nats on Thursday.

“Played defense fine, moved around fine, but I’d like to get him a couple of base hits and running around a little bit. ... Once game speed happens, that’s the true test,” Williams said.

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