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LaRoche ready to open season

Mar 29, 2012, 10:34 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Adam LaRoche went 1-for-2 with a walk in his first big-league game since March 15.

VIERA, Fla. — He got plenty of at-bats in minor-league camp over the last week. He passed all the conditioning drills designed to test his bruised left foot. And after playing six innings and stroking a base hit off Braves left-hander Mike Minor in the Nationals' 6-3 victory this afternoon, Adam LaRoche made it clear to Davey Johnson he's ready to open the season with his teammates.

"I'll tell you what: Let's just put this behind us," LaRoche told his manager. "I feel like this is over with. Let's move on and rock-and-roll for the season."

That was music to Johnson's ears. After spending much of the last month wondering about the status of his veteran first baseman, he's now confident that won't be a lingering issue any longer.

"Yeah, I even said if he's going to hit left-handers like that, I may revisit the platoon thing," Johnson said, perhaps going back on his plan to have LaRoche share time at first base with right-handed veteran MarkRead more »

  1. MicheleS - Mar 29, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    I will pack the bubble wrap just in case!B25GN!!!

  2. SonnyG10 - Mar 29, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Hopefully now we'll get to see how much he helps our lineup.

  3. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    I really hope Adam LaRoche gets off to a good start and has a great year for us. Go Nats!NatsFan05

  4. #4 - Mar 29, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Just catching up after a full day. I love scrolling through all these comments.On the 3rd v emergency catcher issue, here is the big difference in my mind. When the roster only has an "emergency" catcher, a manger will almost never use his back-up catcher as a pinch hitter. Those suggesting that Flores will be a good bat off the bench are wrong-headed I think. A manager doesn't want to use a guy like Carroll unless something crazy happens, like both catchers getting hurt in the same game. If Carroll ended up getting hurt except when catching in truly an emergency situation, that would be very problematic for the team. Now if you have an honest to goodness 3rd catcher, the calculus changes a bit.The discussion about the Wolf – pitching, Wolf-umpiring situation reminded me of my favorite youth league coach. He was a tough love, heart of gold type. He was a particularly good coach for the over-coddled kids. To drive home the essence of competition in order to toughen up his pitchers, his favorite line was, "When you're out there pitching, your mother and father will NOT be umpiring." I always thought there was so much wrapped up in that advice.Lastly, pencil in LaRoche for .270/25/85. He's going to be a pleasant surprise.

  5. Feel Wood - Mar 29, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    #4, your common sense comment here must be really confusing for Steve M and Section 222. They think a third catcher and an emergency catcher are the same thing.In reality, though, you are probably right that Flores will not be a bat off the bench very often. But having the emergency catcher available does free Davey up to use him in particularly high leverage situations if he's the most well suited guy still available on the bench.

  6. Steady Eddie - Mar 29, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    Ugh. Livo just had a Livo meltdown vs the Mets and gave up a big crooked 7 in the bottom of the 4th.1B, 1B, K, 1B, 1B, E, FC, P5, David Wright grand slam. Feel bad for Livo but even apart from "it's ST," glad the Nats are at last at a place where we didn't even have to think seriously about resigning him for anything.

  7. natsfan1a - Mar 29, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Just so you don't start popping it, because that's my thing. (Pop.) :-)MicheleS said… I will pack the bubble wrap just in case! B25GN!!! March 29, 2012 6:40 PM

  8. natsfan1a - Mar 29, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    Come on, you know you want to.

  9. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    The only thing that matters in the second game…Lombo 3/3 against Scherzer and Flores 2/3 against Scherzer. Good hitting against a good pitcher from the only two big league Nats in the game.

  10. Anonymous - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    Feel Wood, you just won't let it go. I'm not even going to try to debate this with you because it will keep this stupidity going.

  11. Gonat - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Steady Eddie, due to that error before that Wright granny slammy, Livo only ate 4 Earnies. Still not pretty.

  12. Gonat - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    #4, it has been discussed that Davey plans on using his backup catcher in critical situations to pinch-hit.Seems like a good Q&A for Davey how he plans on handling that situation.

  13. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    Hey, no second game thread? Bummer.Although if it's going to be another two-dogs-with-an-old-bone argument, maybe it's just as well. What are you people, 12? So, is Lombardozzi playing Emergency Base in the second game?(It's like popping the bubblewrap–I couldn't stop myself.)

  14. Anonymous - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    Every team has an emergency catcher who isn't really a catcher. Not every team has a backup catcher who hits as good as Flores. Davey being Davey, he might use Flores as a pinch hitter more often than you would a regular backup catcher, because Flores can hit a bomb off the bench. But the identity of the emergency catcher isn't likely to have much to do with his decision.

  15. Exposremains - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    you know what's weird? We haven't heard about Harper in a while..

  16. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Excellent point, Mr. Remains, sir. The discussion doesn't seem to miss his presence. Interesting…

  17. Knoxville Nat - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    Feel Wood is getting to be as annoying as his good friend, JayB.Both of you should give it a rest.

  18. BethesdaFan - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    Is anyone following the game with Detroit? Gameday is covering it. Very exciting. We are ahead 5-3 with lots of players I haven't heard of. No one is blogging it as far as I can see.

  19. Gonat - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    Anonymous said… Every team has an emergency catcher who isn't really a catcher. Not every team has a backup catcher who hits as good as Flores. Davey being Davey, he might use Flores as a pinch hitter more often than you would a regular backup catcher, because Flores can hit a bomb off the bench. But the identity of the emergency catcher isn't likely to have much to do with his decision. March 29, 2012 8:15 PM ______________________________Agree. The Nats have 2 really good offensive catchers. This is the National League where pinch hitters are used sometimes twice a game.Situation: Davey sends Bernadina up to the plate and the other manager brings in the lefty and maybe Davey pulls Bernadina for Flores if the game is on the line.

  20. Gonat - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    BethesdaFan said… Is anyone following the game with Detroit? Gameday is covering it. Very exciting. We are ahead 5-3 with lots of players I haven't heard of. No one is blogging it as far as I can see. March 29, 2012 8:30 PM___________________________I expected Detroit as a 10-0 winner. Hard to believe the job the Nats have done tonight. Detroit has crushed most of the Spring. Another impressive game from Corey Brown, JFlo, and Lombo and all the pitchers.

  21. Gonat - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Add Tim Pahuta also

  22. FS - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    question for fellow NIs, cafepress has nats insider t-shirts. they are legit, right? that's where I should buy from.

  23. #4 - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    Gonat:It would be an interesting question to ask Davey. Last year the Nats gave only 16 of the 204 PH at bats to their catchers. I wonder how many of those were in September when they were carrying three catchers – probably most of them.I went back and looked at Davey's managing in other years. In 2000 he had a good hitting back up catcher in Chad Kreuter. He gave him 0 PH at bats. In 1986 Ed Hearn got just 7 PH ABs – again how many in September? I don't know.I suppose if he does it infrequently – maybe once a month at most before September in very high leverage situations, it's worth the risk. It does seem to be a change in strategy for him though regardless.

  24. Gonat - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    #4, thanks for the info. I can't wait for Mark to jump into this issue further. Kilgore touched the surface.

  25. Gonat - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    By the way, one of the more satisfying wins of the Spring. For some of these guys, this may be the highlight of their careers.

  26. #4 - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    One other note, in 1988, it looks like the Mets carried three catchers – Gary Carter, Mackey Sasser, and Barry Lyons. The later two each got almost 20 PH at bats.

  27. Anonymous - Mar 30, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    Hey, I watched the entire Tigs-Nats game on MLB.TV and the game was as good as the comments! Following the game, I threw a "smack-down" to my buddy from Detroit who just laughs whenever he hears me rooting for the Nats. "He who laughs last, laughs best," methinks! Go Nats!

  28. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 30, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    FS, if by "legit" you mean they are from Comcast, I don't think so (AFAIK). CafePress uses your search terms to create products to show you.

  29. Big Cat - Mar 30, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Haven't heard much from all the HRod bashers this spring. Storen better watch it. Remember Wally Pipp?

  30. Young Pitchers - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    hey that's a Mattingly V-Grip bat LaRoach is holding in the picture. i've got two of those too!

  31. FS - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    Thanks Sec 3. Then where can I get one?

  32. Sunderland - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    MarkZ did set up NatsInsider on CafePresshttp://www.natsinsider.com/2010/07/1-million-pageviews-and-counting.html

  33. Feel Wood - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    Anonymous said…Feel Wood, you just won't let it go. I'm not even going to try to debate this with you because it will keep this stupidity going.Who are you and what is it we're not debating?

  34. Feelwood's question - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Is it this?Third catcher/emergency catcher semantics aside, the question I posed was whether any Nationals manager had ever had to use a player who wasn't normally a catcher as the catcher in an emergency. The Weaver-Sakata situation someone mentioned is a perfect example of that. But Frank Robinson replacing LeCroy with Fick does not qualify, because as I mentioned already, Fick was a catcher. He caught multiple games every season throughout his career. I'd venture to say that few if any of those situations were "emergencies" either. Can anyone come up with a situation where an emergency catcher was used by the Nats?Doesn't seem like a stupid question to me.

  35. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    Young Pitchers said… hey that's a Mattingly V-Grip bat LaRoach is holding in the picture. i've got two of those too!Young, how do you like it? I've seen it and was intrigued, but never got to try them. Can you use a prohitter with it, or does the handle shape get in the way?

  36. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    Sunderland, thanks for the T-shirt tip. Dry goods is where the real money is at…

  37. Anonymous - Mar 30, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    UH OH … MLBTradeRumors is reporting that the Indians are about to trade former 2005 1st round pick Trevor Crowe … He fits the Eury Perez, N. Morgan, Span, Bourn model of speed, base stealing, some gap power in 2010, but didn't play much in 2011. Went to the University of Arizona (Bear Down Arizona!) My guess would be a package swap involving Roger Bernadina and a pitcher … to send to Manny Acta … The difference? This guy is a switch hitter.

  38. Anonymous - Mar 30, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    Looks like the Braves are interested in Nady … have to wonder if that was why he suddenly started to appear in major league games? Wonder what the Nats would want from the Braves given they are in the same division? Prospects would be the only answer … prospects known to Roy Clark.

  39. Anonymous - Mar 30, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    Haven't heard much from all the HRod bashers this spring. Storen better watch it. Remember Wally Pipp?Don't look at me I'm a huge H-Rod and Mattheus fan … and I liked Nyjer Morgan's game … ~smiles~ Now, John Lannan? Of course we'll see how that 3-way tie ends up I suspect a trade is in the offing. That can't go with a 5 man bullpen … with two guys who only pitch every five days … whether Lannan, Wang or Detwiler. Notice Gorzelanny doesn't fit that category …

  40. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 30, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    Trevor Crowe trade, rumored to the Angels? Ummm… nevermind.

  41. NatsLady - Mar 30, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    So I'm working and can't watch the Detroit game, but I hear a snippet of their announcers complaining that the Nats didn't send any regulars and they have to look deep into the media guide to find out who these guys home.Now I'm driving home and I hear that the Nats won 5-3 and Clip pitched two perfect innings. So I'm wondering, Lombo, Flores, Clip and our scrubs and drubs beat the mighty Tigers? Guess so. Maybe they were "working on things." Yeah, that's it.

  42. Anonymous - Mar 30, 2012 at 3:40 AM

    you know what's weird? We haven't heard about Harper in a while..Optioned players aren't allowed to play in ST games once optioned. Apparently, he has been doing extremely well … as has Eury Perez. Seven days 'til Syracuse Chiefs opening day … be sure to get MiLB at Bat the minor league corollary to MLB.com … Big competition in Syracuse this year … greater competition for those roster spots than every before! In the past Rizzo had to get on the phone and cajole free agents into signing to play in AAA. Now, he actually has competition … can't wait to see the final MiLB rosters and where everyone lands.

  43. NatsLady - Mar 30, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    sorry– "who these guys are…"

  44. Anonymous - Mar 30, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    Trevor Crowe trade, rumored to the Angels? No sec3, Abrue is coveted by the Indians and he has been complaining about the fact that he won't get much playing time with the current roster … but they have to move someday to fit him into their roster … (Although its been a while since he played in the outfield on a regular basis?) … Rizzo likes to collect the types of players he thinks he needs. This guy is a switch hitter so he might be worth putting down in AAA to see if he's recovered from his right rotator cuff injury … or to continue rehab … I can see the Nats picking this guy up … he appears to fit?

  45. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 30, 2012 at 3:58 AM

    No he doesn't. He's not even Ryan Langerhans. And what does Abreau +$$ for Crowe, which the story you referenced said is a dead deal, have to do with DC?

  46. Anonymous - Mar 30, 2012 at 4:34 AM

    No he doesn't. He's not even Ryan Langerhans.Different types of players. My understanding is the deal for Crowe fell through which was separate than the Abreu deal. The Abreu deal is all about how much salary the Angels cover not about Crowe as compensation. The Abrue deal is still 50-50 the Crowe deal ran into a snag …I guess we'll see … won't we? SteveM said the Nats almost consummated a deal for a right handed hitting outfielder … they're still canvasing … along with the Braves … and they just released Jason Michaels.

  47. Anonymous - Mar 30, 2012 at 5:33 AM

    Hmmm, Brad Hawpe plus Xavier Nady would make a pretty good pair of hairy chested hitters sitting next to Davey Johnson? Not sure they would fit on the 25-man with Carroll, Bernadina, Lombardozzi, and DeRosa as the fielding bench. But maybe? That might make Harper's transition to the majors later rather than sooner.If I were the Nats I would go for it. I guess Hawpe can play first recovering from Tommy John's and Nady could manage in the outfield if necessary?

  48. natsfan1a - Mar 30, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Maybe Mark can comment on the Insider gear. It doesn't look to me like the stuff that was in the shop he set up back in the day. (I bought a t-shirt back then.) If memory serves, a number of those items had catchy slogans, and the logo looked different.

  49. Young Pitchers - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Section 3, My Sofa,I love it, really like how the handle falls 'naturally' right into your fingers and stay there relaxed, and feel no difference swinging the bat (is that good or bad? haha), but my kids hate it but again they're 7 & 6 so what do they know about gripping a bat!not sure what prohitter is. sorry.

  50. MicheleS - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    i had to put this quote from McCatty (see Kilgore's Article on MPHRod) it's great!“You’ve got a guy in Henry that has a reputation,” McCatty said. “Guys know that he can fire one up and in or wherever. When it’s coming in 100 miles an hour, you’re going to be a little leery. Fear is always a good thing for a pitcher to have in a hitter. If a hitter doesn’t know where it’s going, or he’s not sure, I think that’s a real plus.”

  51. Sunderland - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    As long as we're lobbing McCatty quotes about HRod – " “With his ability, if he does that, obviously his stuff is pretty frickin’ bueno.”(from Kilgore@WaPo)

  52. Rabbit - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    I hope 'Roche does well, but I'm betting when I go to an early April game he is on the bench nursing an injury.

  53. natsfan1a - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    It is a nice quote, even if it does have a spelling fail (one that a spellchecker doesn't catch). ;-)

  54. sjm308 - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    I am not trying to start an argument. After the mathmatical barrage on Werth's HR and then the 3rd catcher/emergency catcher I do not even want to start anything. But, there was a comment about a player being optioned not being able to play in ST games. How is it that Corey Brown keeps getting to play when he was cut early in ST? Was he not optioned? Just want to know, don't want to argue.Go Nats!!

  55. NatsLady - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    I don't think Corey Brown was optioned to a specific minor-league team (yet). He was assigned to minor-league camp. Nats assign six to minor leagues: The Nationals sent Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Rafael Martin, Sandy Leon, Jarrett Hoffpauir, Corey Brown and Xavier Paul to minor-league camp on Monday. He's not on the 40-man, so they don't have to option him.

  56. NatsLady - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Notice that Xavier Paul and Sandy Leon also played in the Tigers game yesterday, along with other assorted minor-leaguers. You don't have to worry about "options" until they are on the 40-man. You do, however, have to worry about the Rule 5 draft if you keep them in the minors too long.

  57. Section 222 - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I woke up to a beautiful sunny day and the ticker on the upper right hand corner of this blog reads "6". I refuse to let a certain relative of Phil Wood's sour and superior attitude ruin it, especially since I now know to preface all of his comments with AFAIK — which makes him much less annoying.

  58. Not Arguin' Either - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    sjm, anyone can play in spring training (aka exhibition) games. Doesn't matter if you are on the 40 man or not, if you are in ML camp or in minor league camp, assigned to a specific minor league team, etc. As long as you are under contract, you are eligible. Guys are commonly pulled from minor league camp, sometimes for road games, often for when more bodies are needed when there are split squad games.

  59. NatsLady - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    On the option thing, make that AFAIK.

  60. Feel Wood - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    But, there was a comment about a player being optioned not being able to play in ST games. How is it that Corey Brown keeps getting to play when he was cut early in ST? Was he not optioned? Just want to know, don't want to argue.I think they can play whoever they want in ST games. Look at all the minor leaguers they throw out there in split squad games or road games where the big boys don't travel. I think the only provision is that the players have to be under contract, but I'm not even sure about that. The Yankees suited up Billy Crystal and let him take an AB in spring training a few years ago.The rules are looser in spring training, because the games don't count. They are really just organized practice in front of a paid crowd.

  61. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Young Pitchers, thanks for the recommendation. ProHitter (TM) is that rubber thing you see players wearing over their thumb at bat. It's supposed to have a similar effect–put the bat into your fingers, away from the palm–and it provides some cushion on hits off the end or handle, too. Takes some getting used to.

  62. Sunderland - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Feel Wood, glad you remembered Billy Crystal. He did indeed sign a contract in order to play.****TAMPA, Fla. — The Yankees are ready to add a touch of Hollywood to their roster, announcing their plans to sign actor and comedian Billy Crystal to a one-day contract during Spring Training. Crystal will sign the contract and work out with the Yankees at Legends Field on Wednesday, before playing in the club's game on against the Pirates on Thursday. Commissioner Bud Selig approved the Yankees' extension of a contract to Crystal. "I've been waiting 50 years for this call," Crystal said. "I'm overwhelmed by the generosity of the Yankees and Commissioner Selig. I know this'll be tougher than the Broadway Softball League, but I'm looking forward to helping the younger players — by the way, which is all of them." Crystal, who turns 60 on Friday, will wear uniform No. 60 in the game.

  63. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 30, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    If I'm not mistaken, Crystal actually signed a one-day contract. I'm not sure how much he paid them. That could work, though–sorta like buying a ticket for the Soyuz. Auction off one non-roster invitation to spring training.

  64. fast eddie - Mar 30, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    During MLB's coverage of the Nats, they listed Michael Taylor as the second best OF prospect after Harper. That surprised me, since Eurey Perez, Destin Hood, Corey Brown and Goodwin have all gotten lots more ST playing time than Taylor.Would the Nats' brain trust concur with MLB's assessment?

  65. Les in NC - Mar 30, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Sec 3, it looks like that story is from a few years ago….

  66. NatsFanJim - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Uh sorry. I have a difficult time getting excited about a lifetime .265 hitter ready to "Rock and Roll" especially when his history tells us that he doesnt "rock and roll" until after the All Star break. Yawn …. enjoy your ridiculous contract, Adam, it's a gift from heaven.

  67. Theophilus - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    I think the Nats' brass is auto-defibrillating on Taylor. He has been officially anointed the "CF of the future." Perez is trade bait, Brown is a possible 2013 place-holder, and Goodwin is "God's will be done."

  68. Theophilus - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Fast Eddie almost mention Destin Hood. I think (A) Hood is probably Michael Burgess redux; (B) in any event, most likely a corner outfielder w/ steeper obstacles between him and the majors. He signed w/ Nats over the Univ. of Nick Saban and seems to be slow in making progress, with little of the power we were led to expect. Nats "sources" have occasionally complained about Bernadina's lack of baseball instincts, as a late-comer to the game, and Hood's lagardly-ness makes me wonder if he is in the same boat.

  69. Theophilus - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    "also mentioned"

  70. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Site's back up! Maybe we need a back channel.Les, yes, that's when it happened, 2008.

  71. NatsLady - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Explanation of options vs. assignment to minor-league.MLB transactionshttp://www.purplerow.com/2009/2/12/756928/mlb-transactions-part-two

  72. fast eddie - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Theophilus:So, if Harper ends up in CF, is Taylor our next-best prospect as a corner OF?

  73. Unkyd - Mar 30, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    NatsFanJim said…Uh sorry. I have a difficult time getting excited about a lifetime .265 hitter ready to "Rock and Roll" especially when his history tells us that he doesnt "rock and roll" until after the All Star break. Yawn …. enjoy your ridiculous contract, Adam, it's a gift from heaven.———————–That's the Spirit, Jimmy!!!

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