When Adam LaRoche went to stretch his strained right quad on Friday, the soreness that had been such a hindrance was gone.
And that progress has the Nationals first baseman hoping that when he's eligible to come off the disabled list on May 25, he'll be able to do so.
"They were optimistic early on with the 15 days, saying, 'Hey, it could very well be gone or obviously it might not be,' " LaRoche said Saturday at Nationals Park. "They acted like there was a really good chance with just four or five days of nothing that it might do the trick to get it to lay down enough to kind of release and start healing up.
"I was really shocked yesterday when I stretched it to the point that it was killing me before and to not feel anything now. I figured it would be better, but I thought I would feel it. So to not feel it at all, that's why I say I would think when I'm eligible to come off that I could be playing."
LaRoche was placed on the 15-day DL on May 10. He rested for four or five days, plans to run on the quad in the pool today and hopes to convince trainer Lee Kuntz that he can return to the field to push it a little more Sunday.
After trying to get it to heal while playing on it before going on the DL, how cautious does LaRoche have to be to avoid another setback?
"I think pretty cautious," he said. "It's not something where when it's right, I'll need extra days to go get in shape again. So that's a good thing, that when it's good enough to play and it's right, I'll be ready to go right then. So luckily with this injury, I can still hit and throw and do the baseball activities outside of running. So I'll be able to keep up on that. I really don't know. I'll just have to see what it feels like."
LaRoche admitted he probably didn't handle it the best way by waiting to go on the DL, but he doesn't regret his decision to keep playing through the injury.
"I feel the best about it because I gave it a shot. No, I think the smartest thing is when you know it's pulled, you shut it down and get it right and any other position on the field, I would've had to do that," LaRoche said. "No, I'm glad I tried to let the thing heal as I was playing on it. Shoot, we gave it a good eight-, 10-day shot and I don't know, it was not getting better. It was getting worse, so then it was pretty crystal clear that I've got to shut down for two weeks.
"It depends on how you look at it, but for me, that was the way I wanted to handle it. I told (manager Matt Williams), I said, 'I want to give it every chance to heal while still playing. Let's try that out and if we can't, we can't.' "
It didn't work out and the DL was LaRoche's ultimate destination, but the news is mostly positive right now.
"He's got to pass some tests still," Williams said. "He hadn't run, certainly hasn't been full speed yet. But we're doing everything we can to get him progressed to the point where he can go out and test it. But it seems to be OK. It's kind of diminished somewhat and it's down to one little spot in his hip flexor/quad area. He was in the pool yesterday. He'll continue to do all that stuff and get going. So, yeah, looks good."