Dec 14, 2013, 9:48 AM EDT
Adam LaRoche returned from his nearly weeklong tour of U.S. military bases overseas yesterday, flying into Washington alongside Willie and Jep Roberston from Duck Dynasty and former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light. Before each of them flew back home, they decided to meet with a few Nationals beat writers to discuss the experience.
I’ll have much more on that later today, including some of their most memorable stories and takeaways from the trip. We talked to them for over two hours at the Occidental Grill in downtown D.C., so there’s a lot of great stuff to go through.
As far as LaRoche goes, there are a few updates on him baseball-wise. For one, he recently met with Matt Williams at Nationals Park along with a few other players. LaRoche and Williams go back to their days in Arizona and know each other well. He was happy with the decision and was grateful for the Nats and their openness throughout the process. It sounds like they valued the opinions of some veterans on the team and the players are excited to get to work with him.
LaRoche said he will turn the page towards next season on January 16th, about a month before pitchers and catchers report. January 15th, he says, is the last day of deer season.
LaRoche’s elbow feels great after having a procedure on it earlier in the offseason and he thinks the team will be back in a big way. He loves the trade to acquire Doug Fister and the signing of Nate McLouth. He called McLouth, a former teammate, a serious guy who goes about his business the right way. He thinks he’ll fit in well.
The two had a phone conversation before McLouth decided to sign and LaRoche said he was honest with him. He told him the Nats are a great clubhouse to be in and said he would never lie to a player or exaggerate about something like that, especially to an ex-teammate and friend.
LaRoche hasn’t followed much news around the league as he’s been outdoors for much of the offseason. He knows what the Nationals are doing, but was surprised at some of the moves made around the NL East. He likes Rafael Furcal to the Marlins and said he has the best arm for a shortstop he’s ever seen. Furcal will play second base after having Tommy John surgery last year.
LaRoche is a friend of Tim Hudson’s, but knows it’s good for the Nationals that the veteran is now out of the division. He also said the Carlos Ruiz deal for the Phillies may not be that outrageous because he’s a tough opponent to have in the NL East.
Here’s a picture of the four of them at the Occidental Grill:
NL EAST STANDINGS
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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