VIERA, Fla. - Adam LaRoche, who has been hindered by shoulder soreness for much of the spring, has a partially torn rotator cuff in his throwing arm, a team source confirmed. But the first baseman, who received a cortisone shot, is scheduled to DH tomorrow, will be back at first base Tuesday and doesn’t plan to miss any time once the regular season starts Thursday.
LaRoche has said all spring that he could play with the injury, saying on Friday he’s feeling better than he was early in camp. He he has been apprehensive about throwing at full effort, but is hitting .366 this spring, and is third on the team with 10 RBIs.
The injury isn’t a debilitating blow by any means; Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez played with a torn rotator cuff in San Diego last year before having surgery at the end of the season, and other athletes have played with similar injuries. The most notorious example is probably former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, who waited for Dr. James Andrews to clear him before he decided to come out of retirement for a second time and join the Vikings for the 2009 season. Favre played all 16 games that season, posting the best numbers of his career and leading the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game.
If LaRoche does miss an extended amount of time at some point, left fielder Michael Morse would be the likely candidate to replace LaRoche. Center fielder Rick Ankiel and reserve outfielder Matt Stairs can also play there.