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LaRoche still working his way back

Feb 22, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Adam LaRoche works out at first base yesterday morning.

VIERA, Fla. — As strong as his left shoulder feels at the moment, and as much as he believes it won't hinder his ability to hit for power the way it did one year ago, Adam LaRoche can't yet say for certainty whether he's made a complete recovery from last season's torn labrum.

And the Nationals first baseman probably won't know until the final week or two of spring training, after he's had a chance to face live pitching day in and day out, and once he's had a chance to reach back and fire a throw to the plate.

Until then, the 32-year-old can only continue to chart progress with each passing day, happy whenever he can complete a round of batting practice or play catch from 90 feet without feeling anything out of the ordinary in his shoulder.

"Hitting feels really good. I'm not worried about that at all," LaRoche said yesterday. "I'm starting to feel some strength coming back probably the last month. Throwing's all right. I haven't really stretchedRead more »

101 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Here is to a healthy year from LaRoche!.Sec 3 you were bringing it last night! Amen to the church of baseball. But it brings up my other favorite monologue from that movie. I will make it G rated. Brian maybe reading:Well, I believe in the soul. The blank (male). The blank(female). The small of a woman's back. The hanging curveball. High fiber. Good scotch. That the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a Constitution Amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas eve. And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days…Goodnight

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Absolutely nothing about this article sounds encouraging. I hate to say it.At least it isn't being sugar coated like last season.

  3. Tim - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Wow. This is a real disappointment. I thought LaRoche's recovery was further along. "LaRoche hopes to be able to do that (stretch his arm out) before the end of Spring Training." — I SHOULD HOPE SO! It sounds like he may not be ready for the start of the season and may start the year on the DL. That would suck.

  4. MicheleS - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    NatsJack and others..I never played first base, so bare with my question: Other than the Odd throw on a DP to Second or maybe a throw to home (each about 60 feet, but maybe 70 feet to home if he is the cuttoff man). What throwing is he going to be doing? Is there something else I am missing.And one comment on LaRoche. Sometimes he seems like Eeyore to me, Always sees the black rain cloud everywhere.

  5. bgib - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Geez, during the offseason the report was that his shoulder was 100% and he was as good as new. This is just like the kind of stuff we were hearing last spring when his shoulder problem was supposedly having absolutely no effect on his hitting,.. only to find out it was. I thought he was cured now; apparently not.

  6. Will - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    NatsJack,I just read the article and was going to say the exact same thing as you. This article is VERY discouraging.He just felt strength coming back last month?He's still unable to throw a ball up to 90 feet?Yikes.

  7. joemktg - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    There are many red flags in this post, but the one most glaring is that he has not thrown further than 90', i.e., no long throws. Long throwing is a basic staple to build arm strength. I'm not referring to the 1Bs need to throw beyond 90' on the diamond, but going through the normal reps of long throwing to build arm strength. Your off season training is to prepare for ST, and ST is to prepare for the regular season: he is not prepared for ST.Morse to 1B…

  8. Wally - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Ditto: this article makes me concerned for Laroche. As the roster currently stands, Laroche s a critical player for our lineup. Hopefully Rizzo is checking out the available OFers.

  9. Will - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Also, this article should revive the question about how the Nationals handled him last year."The more I threw, the worse and worse it got, so it was affecting my hitting,"I've said all along, they handled it very poorly. Telling him to play through it until it was physically impossible for him to continue is not a prudent approach. It's quite clear this problem could have been averted if they had simply addressed the shoulder tear at the start during Spring Training, when it was only minor. Instead, LaRoche played through it and it turned into a very serious and substantial tear. One which may have substantial lasting effects far into this season and beyond. And all for what… a .172 batting average and 3 home runs?

  10. Section 215 Row A - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    MicheleS! Nice quote. Another great line from Costner…(but way shorter) "My name is Dances with Wolves. I have nothing to say to you. You are not worth talking to." This post scares the guacamole out of me. He missed an entire year. He's 32. He is a notorious slow starter. AND his injury hasn't healed sufficiently to allow him to across the diamond? Holy frijoles!

  11. Nattyddread - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    One wonders how closely Rizzo and Co follow the recovery of their multi-million dollar investments. From all the way in Nairobi, I was wondering how recovered Adam would be from his "minor" tear.So if LaRoche isn't 100%, what does that do to Bryce Harpers chances? When one door is closed another is open.

  12. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Did the same Nats medical guys diagnose Flores with tendinitis in his shoulder too?Will: I think that you're right and if it was only LaRoche who was told he had tendinitis and was pushing thorugh the pain to play, you might be able to call it bad luck for management on the tendinitis call. But they botched Flores in a very simialr fashion too. Scary.As to today, LaRoche's throwing arm is not such a big deal as he might make one throw per game that means anything from 1B. If he can swing w/o a problem and if he can throw reasonably, he'll be OK.

  13. natsfan1a - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    uhhhh….this is not encouraging news…

  14. sjm308 - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    I read and then re-read and if nothing else, he is being honest this year. I think Davey is right, he is a gamer and he tried to play through discomfort last year. I have never played at a high level but I have run at a fairly high level and once you have been injured there is something in the back of your mind, you are kind of waiting for it to spring up again. I think there is some of that going on here.NatsJack, he did repeat that his swing is not painful so I will take that small bit as one small positive in an article that was not uplifting.This is why you don't move LannEn quickly, other clubs are experiencing the exact same thing with players rehabbing or others getting injured as Spring Training begins. LaRoche will not be the only National with injury issues this spring, you can bet on it.

  15. Sunderland - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    I'm fairly optimistic, and am higher on LaRoche than most, but I must admit, based on the little bit we heard over the last couple months, I would have thought he was further along as well. Never thrown beyond 90 feet and we're 6 weeks away from games that count?

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    I hate to say it but either (1) the kid is forced to make the trek north (which I am not a fan of) or (2) Bernadina becomes the leftfielder and Ankiel is in center with some late spring right handed outfielder added for short term platooning purposes.Of course, this goes away should LaRoche prove healthy (but I won't hold my breath).

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    And I've laid of dfh21 on Lannen still being with the club.

  18. Gonat - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    43 days to get ready. LaRoche has been saying the same story for weeks. I am more worried about his bat right now.

  19. Gonat - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… And I've laid of dfh21 on Lannen still being with the club. February 22, 2012 8:10 AM _______________________________Huh?

  20. Donald - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    @MicheleS — The distance between bases is 90 feet. It's the mound that's sixty feet away. Not sure he'd have to be the cut-off man very much with Espinosa at 2B. I think the issue is probably the velocity that he'd have to throw more than the distance. The other 3 infielders get to soft toss a lot of throws on sharply hit balls. 1B doesn't throw too much, but when they do, it's in a dp situation as you mention, or firing to a base on a bunt — times when you need a lot of zip.

  21. Feel Wood - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    There are many red flags in this post, but the one most glaring is that he has not thrown further than 90', i.e., no long throws. Long throwing is a basic staple to build arm strength. I'm not referring to the 1Bs need to throw beyond 90' on the diamond, but going through the normal reps of long throwing to build arm strength. Your off season training is to prepare for ST, and ST is to prepare for the regular season: he is not prepared for ST.He is coming back from surgery. It's a gradual process. You don't go from 0% to 100% overnight. The normal rules about where he should be coming into spring training do not apply. He needs to be 100% when the season starts, not now. We have seen or heard nothing yet to indicate that he's not on track for that.Chill out, everyone. This is a different situation than last year when it was presumed LaRoche was coming into ST healthy. This year, we know he is coming back from surgery. Let's wait for it to play out before we start panicking.

  22. NatsLady - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Where is Eleanor Rigby with all those outfielders? We may be calling.

  23. Theophilus - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    I agree w/ MicheleS's Eeyore profile. Hopefully he's not Joe Bftsplk. Not at all happy about the arm strength. There've been a lot of chicken-winged 1B (e.g., Musial, Boog Powell, McCovey) but you gotta believe that the shoulder has to affect the power stroke.I think the indicator will be whether he plays when the games start. If you're seeing a lot of Tyler Moore/Mark DeRosa/Rick Ankiel at 1B in the first couple of weeks, then we'll know there's trouble in River City.

  24. DFL - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    It would seem that Michael Morse may begin the season as a first-baseman. Rizzo looks rather foolish in that he not only didn't sign or trade for a centerfielder, he didn't sign a second outfielder like Ross or even Rowand.

  25. Section 222 - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    It's not panic, it's realism. If he's not 100% yet, seven months after surgery, another 43 days isn't going to do it. I'm not surprised in the least.

  26. Sunderland - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Feel Wood, there's still a lot to overcome between now and 6 weeks from now. And so there's plenty of opportunity for setbacks. This is not too different from last year and CMW and Rizzo both saying he's healthy, he's not rehabbing, he's training, and the expectation is that he'll be ready by Opening Day.It's different, in that CMW is a pitcher, but it's not too much different.

  27. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Gonat… I meant "laid off dfh21" as they were certain that John Lannen was going to be traded over the week end and not be a Nat at the start of ST. The rest of us tried to show the errors of that thought process but dfh21 was adamant.Not piling on, just stating my agreement with sjm308.

  28. Will - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Sunderland, CMW didn't pitch a game for the Nats until July 29th. Adam LaRoche will be pretty useless by that point- Morse will be starting at 1B, with Werth and Harper in the corner OF positions.The Nationals need LaRoche to be healthy RIGHT NOW. As soon as Harper is promoted, LaRoche becomes redundant.

  29. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Some of what you're characterizing as panic is "here we go again!" (not that it isn't a little bit of panic, too). News is all either good, bad, or indifferent. Everybody likes good news. We were led to expect good news in his case. This is not good news. Did he not say he was now 100%? This ain't that.Michelle: Conventionally, the first baseman is the cutoff for throws from RF to home, which can be well over 100 feet, depending on where the RF gets the ball. Throws to third base are approx. 125 feet.

  30. joemktg - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Operative lines from post:-(he) can't yet say for certainty whether he's made a complete recovery-probably won't know until the final week or two of spring training-"I haven't really stretched it out yet, been taking it slow."-it's pretty clear LaRoche is less confident about his ability to cut loose throws from his position at first base-yet to attempt to long-toss the ball from more than 90 feet-doctors' (note: plural) instructions not to push it too fast too soon (and what are those doctors' instructions?)-hopes to be allowed to do that before the end of spring training(????)-"It could be another year, or it could be a month"Shoulder surgery + restrictive throwing in ST = Morse at 1BGreat he can hit: there's that DH thing over in the other league…

  31. sm13 - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    You can't read Mark's piece and not be at least a little bit worried. I'm rooting for LaRoche to be 100%, but, like Eyore, I fear that little black raincloud.

  32. PDowdy83 - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    For people to say that another 6 weeks won't make a difference is ridiculous. A lot of surgeries only require a 6 week recovery so how is another 6 weeks not going to help him strengthen it? This is the REHAB part of his recovery. If this was in the middle of a season it would be the part right before getting sent on a 1 or 2 week rehab assignment in the minors. So he goes for 4 weeks of strengthining it with baseball activities and then he has 2 solid weeks of spring training games to work out the kinks.I'm not saying it may not be a problem but some of you guys need to really grasp how much time 6 weeks really is.Also by saying Rizzo should have found another outfielder like Rowand or Ross I am pretty sure he did. He brought in Cameron (not Rizzo's fault he signed a contract and then retired)DeRosa, Teahen, Xavier Paul and Brett Carroll and he still has plenty of time and a spare pitcher to bring in another if need be.If LaRoche isn't available for a little bit of time at the beginning of the season you platoon Bernadina/Paul and DeRosa in left with Ankiel in CF and that makes super utility guy that DeRosa is supposed to be. I know it isn't the sexy name that a lot of people want but it isn't like he completely failed on a contingency plan.

  33. natsfan1a - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Well said by my esteemed colleague from the great state of mysofa.Sec 3, My Sofa said… Some of what you're characterizing as panic is "here we go again!" (not that it isn't a little bit of panic, too). News is all either good, bad, or indifferent. Everybody likes good news. We were led to expect good news in his case. This is not good news. Did he not say he was now 100%? This ain't that.

  34. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    The other part is, if he hasn't thrown past 90 feet yet, even on doctors' orders, normal rehab timetable, whatever, still–he hasn't done it, which means there's no assurances he can, without hurting himself again. I hope he's fine, I would rather have him back 100% in May than replay last season, but this ain't good.

  35. DC Tom - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Ladies and Grentlemen, I present to you your starting first baseman for the Nationals on April 2…Brandon Allen, in a late Spring. out-of-options trade with the Athletics.

  36. JaneB - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Worried. This is a stark change from the tune they were singing from the hymnal this winter. Okay.mi guess we might need a better outfielder. With Marrero a slow healer, Morse is our guy at first, likely.Still! GYFNG!

  37. MicheleS - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    @Donald.. i was cutting off some of the 90 feet based on where he might be in position to catch/throw the ball. I figured he wouldn't be standing on 1B making the throw (unless it was a DP started at 1b). Hopefully, this isn't to worrisome and he can stretch out the shoulder in 43 days…For our eyes on the ground.. hopefully you will see the progress over the next few weeks.

  38. Get Some Players - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    The DL awaits Mr. LaRoche. Then rehab. Nats need to rethink the lineup soon.

  39. Andrew - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    If he is tentative now, then he will not be confident during the season. This is a major problem. With moving Morse back to first, you have two impotent outfield options (offensively). No wonder DJ is pushing for Harper to start. It is a terrible economic choice for Rizzo as he knows that 25 year old harper is worth a whole lot more than 19 year old Harper. The failure to secure an average offensive outfielder is glaring.

  40. joemktg - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Had to read this portion again, as it is stunning:"He's yet to attempt to long-toss the ball from more than 90 feet, citing doctors' instructions not to push it too fast too soon. LaRoche hopes to be allowed to do that before the end of spring training."Hopes?? And hopes to before the end of ST?? There's a difference between "we have a 1B" and "we hope to have a 1B."

  41. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Off topic, anyone see the Gio Gonzalez interview posted on the companion CSN site? His t-shirt says "running sucks." And he's a Miami guy (read: likes black beans, rice, yuca fritz etc.). Sounds to me like we are going to have our own Alex Fernandez soon (which isn't a bad thing – alex was a good pitcher for a while).

  42. Feel Wood - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    It's not panic, it's realism. If he's not 100% yet, seven months after surgery, another 43 days isn't going to do it.Why not? Recovery is not an instantaneous thing. It's a progression. First comes healing, then comes building back up to baseball-player strength. He's not saying he's not 100% healed, he's saying he's not 100% baseball ready yet. That's what spring training is for. Where else is he going to build that baseball strength back? Winter ball in Venezuela, perhaps?

  43. Binx Bolling - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Perhaps if the Marlins dump Chris Coghlan the Nats might snatch him up and lead him off.

  44. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Recovery from Labrum surgery (depending on the severity) can take every bit of 6 months of rehab. He should ,however, be throwing longer than what the article indicates by now. Part of the problem may be the anxiousness that is normal for the recovering player to feel. He may be hesitant to just let loose because of concerns about reinsuring the shoulder. This is normal but still must be overcome to make progress. at some point he will just have to say in the immortal words of Tom Cruise in Risky Business "What the F…" and just do it.

  45. WTF_Rizzo - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    …Mr. DiPoto I have Mr. Rizzo on line 1 he says it is urgent…I wonder what it would take to get Bobby Abreau from the Angels? If you move Morse to 1B you have an OF of what?Bernadina Ankiel WerthUGH!#GMproblems

  46. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    I'm not a doctor, but I can throw a ball 130 feet without pain, or fear of injury. If he can't, I don't think he's healed.

  47. Feel Wood - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Worried. This is a stark change from the tune they were singing from the hymnal this winter.You missed that "we almost signed Fielder" descant?

  48. joemktg - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    "Where else is he going to build that baseball strength back?"Off season training! From HS to College to Pros: these guys work year round. They're squating, cleaning, pressing. Core work, plyometrics. Hitting, hitting, hitting. Grounders, grounders, grounders. They don't sit around the fireplace eating bon-bons.

  49. Drew - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Looks like the bow hunter continues to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.On a related note: Rizzo says he sees Lombo as a starter and he wants Davey to find him 300 at bats.2b or not 2b….

  50. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    They don't sit around the fireplace eating bon-bons. That would be what I've been doing wrong, then. Well, I have six weeks to work it off.

  51. Feel Wood - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    "Where else is he going to build that baseball strength back?"Off season training! From HS to College to Pros: these guys work year round. They're squating, cleaning, pressing. Core work, plyometrics. Hitting, hitting, hitting. Grounders, grounders, grounders. They don't sit around the fireplace eating bon-bons.Yes. Perhaps they should have thrown him right into that the day after his surgery. It was probably an outpatient procedure anyway. Straight from the hospital to the gym. Bench press 300! Beast mode!Geez.

  52. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Mark, Would love to hear more of your thoughts on this? That he has yet to toss more than 90 feet sounds very concerning, but …..

  53. D'Gourds - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Frankly, I don't care if he can throw that well by April 2 as long as he can throw well enough to play and and can hit. Yes there are situations where a strong armed 1st baseman is a plus, but there aren't many. The big thing is whether he can swing the bat and field the position. It sounds like he has been doing the work in the batting cages which is promising. His glove is always a plus. I'm just not too worried about this.

  54. Avar - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    This post is at least concerning. 7 months after surgery, he can't do the normal long toss that big leaguers do. Lambrum surgery is brutal on the ability to throw. So, it's not surprising. But, you have to doubt his ability to play up to his usual level on opening day.I'm concerned.

  55. joemktg - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    That's the point: he hasn't been doing any of that. He can't do any of that. He's not even close, by his own words. And he hopes to be allowed to do that before the end of spring training. Hopes. And you're thinking he has time: time for you to wake up.Rizzo knew this: not knowing this is tantamount to irresponsible management and he's not irresponsible. LaRoche is turning out to be a nice-to-have. May: kid comes up, then LF platoon/Werth/Harper. Go into next off season looking for a CF (when there will be a few quality players available): Werth/FA/Harper.

  56. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    To shed a bit more light on all this, since I can tell you're all quite interested in what's going on with LaRoche …When he told me he hasn't thrown from more than 90 feet yet, the little red flag in my head popped up, as I'm sure it did for all of you reading this. So I asked him: Is the reason he hasn't thrown from longer distances yet because he CAN'T or because he's been told not to. He said it's because the doctors and trainers have told him not to do that yet, citing the ongoing rehab process and his progression. I am about as certain as can be that LaRoche will be allowed to start ramping things up sometime in the near future, and he (as well as everyone with the Nats) will be very interested to see how that goes and how he feels afterward.Just to emphasize one thing that may not have come across in the article: LaRoche says his shoulder feels great. He's experienced no pain to this point and doesn't believe it has any negative effect on his swing right now. He does seem to have a bit of concern about his throwing, but he also acknowledges that it's less important for him to be able to throw at full velocity or from great distances than it is for him to be able to hit without any problems.The key to all this, I believe, is that while everything has gone fine in his rehab to this point, neither LaRoche nor the Nats nor any of the rest of us will be 100 percent sure there's no shoulder issue whatsoever until he crosses a few more hurdles (facing live pitchers, throwing from greater distances). It's quite possible he'll cross those hurdles with no problems. And it's quite possible he'll still have some difficulty.If nothing else, this is going to be something to watch closely all spring.

  57. MicheleS - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    See he is Eeyore..All of our general optimism/hope for the season has completely vanished in 1 post.

  58. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    All of our general optimism/hope for the season has completely vanished in 1 post.Naah. There's always Da Meat Hook.

  59. MicheleS - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    And thank you for Mark reading this blog.. Voice of reason…don't hit the panic button (yet).I will now start drinking my morning Koolaid

  60. Drew - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    There may not be that many cfs available. Victorino says he isn't going anywhere. Bourn's a fine player, but Boras will seek a multi-year deal for a player who's already 30.If we get to the trading deadline and Lannan, Desmond and LaRoche are still with the club, I wonder if Rizzo will try to formulate some sort of deal to entice Tampa.Caveat for those who read out loud: No, you do not trade for a rental. Yes, any Upton deal would be predicated on signing him to a multi-year extension. If you don't agree to an extension during the negotiating window, the deal is off.Would it be worth trading a piece or two to get exclusive rights to Upton at 28? In this cf market, I think so.

  61. joemktg - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    "To shed a bit more light on all this, since I can tell you're all quite interested in what's going on with LaRoche …"Ya think?

  62. DC Tom - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Thank you Mark!It's a sign of a healthy and impassioned fan base that we obsess over this.Still, bears watching. However the Nat whose health is far more important to DJ's lineup options is DeRosa — any word about him yet this Spring, Mark?

  63. natsfan1a - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    No, no, no. It's sitting in front of the tv eating bon-bons. Get with the program, people. :-)They don't sit around the fireplace eating bon-bons.

  64. Avar - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    I think what's troubling about the post today is that LaRoche said last year that he didn't think he affected his swing but he was having trouble throwing. It just sounds the same as that. The difference is, now he has had surgery.And, as Mark pointed out – he hasn't tried anything yet. Because they haven't done a workout yet. Let's at least wait until there has been some workouts before we totally freak out. Ideally a week of games.

  65. natsfan1a - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Yay, Meat Hook! Look at that smile!Sec 3, My Sofa said… Naah. There's always Da Meat Hook. February 22, 2012 9:37 AM

  66. joemktg - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    natsfan1a: stand corrected.

  67. Section 222 - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Thanks for the further information Mark. I'm still not counting on ALR as the OD 1B. Labrum surgery is serious stuff. For the first month, the rehab consists of swinging it only about halfway to chest level. On another topic, nice piece on Livo and his new gig down south.

  68. Wally - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    I am not really get concerned whether Laroche can throw or not. I mean, it would be nice, certainly, but didn't Pujols play a whole year needing Tommy John surgery? It is the hitting that matters. And since he and the team attribute his poor hitting last year to his shoulder issues, this has to be a concern.Mark's clarification that this doesn't necessarily mean anything yet is probably right, but coming back from this kind of injury, there has to be a worry about recovery and this isn't good news.So I hope that Rizzo makes a move or two to bring in better back up options. None of the players that PDowdy mentions, with the possible exception of Ross, should be expected to play every day, or even large stretches of time. I think that we need someone who can. I have wanted to keep Lannan, but if it takes him or Detwiler to bring back a useful OF, I think that we need to do it. I think that we can use him even if Laroche plays 130 games (effectively).

  69. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 22, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    DC Tom said…However the Nat whose health is far more important to DJ's lineup options is DeRosa — any word about him yet this Spring, Mark?Stay tuned. Just talked to him this morning. Post coming shortly…

  70. sjm308 - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    I am out for a bike ride on this glorious day. Will read again around 4pm. (retired life is tough)What was interesting to me was the number of posters who immediately started looking for trades, blaming either Rizzo, our team Doctors, or LaRoche. I agree with PDowdy that 6 weeks is a huge amount of time to get right and am hopeful he can get it done. (will not say getr Dunn)Big thanks to Mark for taking the time to read our posts and address those concerns. Hope he helped some of you in off the ledge.If he is not 100% we start Morse at first, use Ankiel, DeRosa, Werth and Bernadina until Harper arrives. Its not the end of the world people.

  71. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Ok, NatsJack, you're killing me here. First, you point out how you've held back on gloating that my prediction that Lannan might be moved before Sunday, which was nice of you (but you were kind of gloating by bringing it up at all, but who cares), but then you claim I was "adamant" that Lannan would be moved over the weekend? Adamant? Uhhm, no. That's not really accurate. You can rub my nose in being wrong all you want, but be fair about it. I said that it could happen and it made sense for the club to move the guy before pitchers report.“NatsJack — I am prepared to take some flack, but how much do I deserve by guessing a Lannan trade might go down? KC, NYY, Boston and Seattle and maybe Detroit should be interested. And it makes some sense to have this done before guys report. We'll see. Tell you what, if it does happen by some strange chance, I will not give you any flack for having missed your prediction. :-)”February 17, 2012 5:07 PMdfh21

  72. whatsanattau - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Don't take me too seriously on this one, but my fun line up for the day (if LaRoche needs more time):Desmond SSEspinosa 2BZimmerman 3BMorse 1BHarper RFWerth CFRamos CBernadina LF

  73. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    If there's anything worse than this dfh21 dude constantly running his mouth here, it's this dfh21 dude recycling his old quotes to prove that he was right all along. As if we care. Downright JayB-esque. JayB with a spell checker.

  74. Steve M. - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Mark Zuckerman writes…Just to emphasize one thing that may not have come across in the article: LaRoche says his shoulder feels great. He's experienced no pain to this point and doesn't believe it has any negative effect on his swing right now. He does seem to have a bit of concern about his throwing, but he also acknowledges that it's less important for him to be able to throw at full velocity or from great distances than it is for him to be able to hit without any problems.LaRoche is a 1st baseman, not an outfielder. 125 to 135 foot throws are generally the furthest a 1st baseman has to ever throw the ball which occurs in the rare 1st to 3rd throw and the most common throw is 80+ feet to 2nd base and 90+ feet to home. The real test as Mark says is hitting live pitching. Here's the shame as I see it. If they attended to his issue sooner which led to surgery, we wouldn't be sitting here 43 days before Opening Day contemplating the "what ifs".Nick Markakis had an ab injury similar to Zim towards the end of his 2011 season. He gave it some time to heal on its own and didn't feel much better. He went to a specialist and within days had surgery and will be ready about the time Opening Day starts instead of being on the 60 day DL to start the 2012 season. He didn't lie about it and show up in Spring Training this year without the surgery. He took the Doctors advice and made the right decision. Zim's and LaRoche's injuries both eventually required surgery and I felt in both situations that both players sugarcoated the level of pain and discomfort. It has cost the Nats over and over again by taking as Zim puts it "We will see how it feels in a few days" approach. I give credit to Chris Marrero. He got injured and dealt with it quickly. This is really unfortunate.

  75. Mark'd - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Hey SteveM, how do you really feel. Theres a website somewhere that keeps track of injuries and games not played by each team. I agree injuries happen and its then how you deal with it.

  76. whatsanattau - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    That's silly. Cutting an athlete's muscles in mid season is not something you rush into. And you certainly don't rush to reconstruct a shoulder. They were right to take a cautious approach and it is folly to complain a year later that all would be well now if they had only cut a month or two earlier.

  77. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    It will be extremely important for the Nats who are starting the season in CHICAGO to be stretched out and warmed up so they don't incur any pulled hammies. Those cold weather games to start the season have to be prepared for with that in mind.

  78. Steve M. - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    whatsannattau, I'm not complaining in hindsight about Zim because I said it a year ago that he didn't look right. On LaRoche, yes, take some time on it but it became evident that he wasn't getting better. Could they have acted 2 weeks sooner? A month sooner? I think so but not as sure on how much sooner. In LaRoche's case, it seemed he was not communicating the true extent of the pain in my opinion. Both these cases I think are more on the player than the team.

  79. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    These are not soft tissue injuries that do not show up on MRIs. I do not get it with this team. Unless it is Nick Johnsons broken leg that clearly needed surgery the Nats players seem to drag there ailments on and on and on. Its like drama with these guys. The quotes are unbearable to listen to. A lot of BS covering up the truth. We have lived through years of all of Zimm's injuries. Wrist, shoulder, hamstring, wrist, hamstring, hamstring, oblique, groin, abs, hamstring.

  80. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Anon 10:13 — constantly running my mouth? One post gets me to constant? Recycling quotes to prove I was right all along? I was wrong, just not adamant about anything. dfh21

  81. Mark'd - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Danny Espinosa changed his off season training in a video I saw and said it was a core strength program. It seems core is the new buzz word. It won't prevent the type of injury LaRoche had though.

  82. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    core is not new, I was doing core strength training in the 1970's.

  83. The Fox - Feb 22, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Nats Jack still called it correctly and the news is disappointing because it was reported that Adam would be ready. Maybe they were talking about opening day but I think most people thought he'd be healthy for spring training and would need this time to scrape off some rust not to rehabilitate. I would think that the Nat's knew that LaRoche under doctors orders would not be throwing over 90 feet so they must have had some reason for not mentioning it?Now that the fans believe that the Nats have a chance to contend expect any bad news to cause an adverse reaction.

  84. The Natchural - Feb 22, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    If you go back and read the Nats' stories over the winter, you will see that people in authority repeatedly said LaRoche was 100% fine and ready to go. Read the quotes in all the Prince Fielder stories and you'll see it.The Nats have always crossed the line in terms of happy talk, especially in spring training. Remember all the front office and player talk about "We're ready to win now" before seasons where they lost 100 games.But the LaRoche story goes beyond happy talk. It's either BS'ing the fans or lying to them. That's why Mark's story got such a strong and immediate response. The people who read every word about LaRoche in the winter–Nats Insider readers–naturally were shocked by this story.Does it really make sense that a guy's shoulder would not allow him to throw naturally, but he'd be perfectly fine swinging a baseball bat at a 95 MPH fastball?Pardon my incredulity.

  85. natsfan1a - Feb 22, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Thanks for the link, sec222. Some nice Livo pics in the gallery with that story. His smile is as much a tonic of Meat Hook's. :-)

  86. natsfan1a - Feb 22, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    It's great to see all of the newsy new posts, but it's a marathon, not a sprint, so don't wear yourself out in ST. :-)Mark Zuckerman said… Stay tuned. Just talked to him this morning. Post coming shortly… February 22, 2012 9:56 AM

  87. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 22, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    "new buzzword," not "new." And I was doing core in the sixties, so there.OK, I was doing a lot of things in the sixties; core must've been one of them.

  88. natsfan1a - Feb 22, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    The sixties…yeah, I vaguely remember them. :-)

  89. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 22, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    "it's a marathon, not a sprint"Can that be another drinking game? Maybe they shouldn't all be drinking games–can we have a bon-bon game?

  90. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 22, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Does it really make sense that a guy's shoulder would not allow him to throw naturally, but he'd be perfectly fine swinging a baseball bat at a 95 MPH fastball?Actually, that part might be OK; the range of motion is pretty different for the two. I'm more concerned about the throwing, but if he can get the ball to third reasonably well (not that rare an event, actually, especially if the runner on second thinks you can't throw him out at third), I'm less worried.

  91. natsfan1a - Feb 22, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    A bon-bon game? I am so on board with that.

  92. natsfan1a - Feb 22, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Baseball is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. :-)

  93. Cigarette man - Feb 22, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Life is like a box of chocolates: A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for, unreturnable because all you get back is another box of chocolates, so you're stuck with this undefinable whipped mint crap that you mindlessly wolf down when there's nothing else left to eat. Sure, once in a while there's a peanut butter cup or an English toffee, but they're gone too fast, and taste is fleeting. So you end up with nothing but broken bits of hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts. If you're desperate enough to eat those, all you got left is an empty box filled with useless brown paper wrappers.

  94. Unkyd - Feb 22, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    "The Truth Is Out There"

  95. DFL - Feb 22, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Things in Viera might prove interesting if Tyler Moore has a hot bat. Although his BB-to-Plate Appearance ratio is terrible for a power hitter, Moore has had his moments. Who knows, Moore might prove to be a One Month hero like Chris Shelton with the Tigers five or so years ago or perhaps moore.

  96. Tom in AR - Feb 22, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    If LaRoche is not ready to go what are the chances that Morse stays in the outfield and Tyler Moore starts the season at first? He has certainly displayed a tremendous bat the last two years, though in the lower minor league levels, and my impression is that the glove is not his strength.

  97. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 22, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Tom, I think he would have to absolutely light it up in Florida, at both ends. He had one decent season in Harrisburg, which normally wouldn't get him more than a Sept. callup, if he does it again this year, and not necessarily even then. Not crazy, but not likely, IMO.

  98. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Feb 22, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    This guy is rapidly approaching Brian Lawrence status.

  99. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 22, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Bobby, that's one record I think will never be broken, even by someone who is.

  100. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Having had Labrum surgery myself, it's a bit concerning he's not a further along in his recovery. I was throwing a ball 70-90ft three months after surgery. LaRoche might think that throwing is not that important (even at 1B), however those same shoulder muscles are used while hitting. So even though his shoulder feels great (no pain), he may not even have or regain the full power he had prior to the injury. Time will tell. But at 7 months and the doctors are not allowing him to throw further than 90ft is definitely a red flag in my mind.

  101. SFNats - Feb 29, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

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WASHINGTON 78 59 -- 18
ATLANTA 72 67 7.0
MIAMI 67 70 11.0
NEW YORK 65 74 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 64 74 14.5
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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