Nothing has been decided, but LaRoche had an MRI done Saturday after the quad tightened again during Friday night’s game, and the Nats will have to decide whether to continue to let him work through it or rehab it to full health.
LaRoche served as the team’s designated hitter Friday, but is out of the lineup tonight because of what he felt in the series opener at Oakland.
“It grabbed him a little bit last night. Given the situation in the game, we got him out of there,” manager Matt Williams said during his Saturday pregame media session at O.co Coliseum. “When he gets a base hit, he can kind of monitor himself on his running. But the first two steps playing defense sometimes can be difficult for him because you don’t think about it. You don’t have time to think about it. So it grabbed him a little bit last night. We’re giving him today to see how he is and take a serious look at it after the game. But he’s available today, he’s available to pinch-hit and get in there if we need him to get in there.”
Williams said the team hasn’t yet had a chance to look at LaRoche’s MRI.
“We’re waiting on those results,” Williams said. “So we’ll see once the game’s over what it looks like and make a determination on him. It’s getting gradually better, but it’s something that will take some time to get better. So we’ll see what we have after the game and make a determination.”
Williams said the team has contemplated placing LaRoche on an already-crowded DL before now, but the improvement in the quad prevented them from doing so.
“Yeah, we’ve considered it, but the issue for him is that it’s been a little bit better, and then he’ll tweak it again and then it’s just kind of sore again,” Williams said. “He’s been playing so well. He’s a big part of our offense, a big part of our defense. But we have to look at his long-term health, too, and the long-term health of our club. So we’ll look at it today after the game and see what the results are, talk to the doctors, see where we’re at.”
LaRoche is leading the team with a .319 average and .925 OPS while tying Anthony Rendon for the team lead with five homers. LaRoche’s 23 RBIs rank second on the squad.
If the 34-year-old needs to be placed on the DL, that would leave the Nats without a third of their expected lineup, as LaRoche would join Ryan Zimmerman (broken thumb) and Bryce Harper (torn thumb ligament) on the shelf.