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LaRoche confident back issue won’t be long-term

Aug 27, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

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PHILADELPHIA — Adam LaRoche returned to the Nationals lineup Wednesday, confident the minor back injury that sidelined him Tuesday won’t be a major long-term problem.

“I’ve had it before, and it’s not something where if I go play it can get much worse,” he said. “I know that from experience. I don’t have any fear that I’m going to go out there and do some damage. As of right now, it’s similar to what I’ve dealt with all these years.”

LaRoche said he played with some discomfort for a few days at the end of the Nationals’ homestand and then again Monday night in their series opener against the Phillies, when it felt worse. He thinks the delayed-by-traffic bus ride from D.C. to Philadelphia on Sunday night didn’t help matters.

“I felt it for a couple days, just a little bit of stiffness,” he said. “And then the bus ride just got me. I can loosen it up and it feels good. … Standing is the worst on it, for sure. If I’m moving or swinging or whatever, if I’m active with it, it stays pretty loose. But standing around it stiffens up.”

LaRoche was held out of Tuesday’s lineup but was able to come off the bench and pinch-hit in the ninth inning against Jonathan Papelbon. He popped out to end the game and seal the Nationals’ 4-3 loss.

Prior to Tuesday, LaRoche had played every inning in 24 consecutive games, maintaining his offensive production throughout. The 34-year-old has played in 114 games this season, missing only two weeks in May with a strained quadriceps muscle, and has managed to maintain an .826 OPS that surpasses his career mark of .812.

“He’s held up well,” manager Matt Williams said. “We’ve tried to give him some days, and certainly the off-days mixed in there help. But he’s been producing. He’s playing well. His legs feel good. The little back issue is not a huge deal. He’s had it before. Every once in awhile it gets a little cranky and we have to give him a day if we can.”

  1. pchuck69 - Aug 27, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    >>> He thinks the delayed-by-traffic bus ride from D.C. to Philadelphia on Sunday night didn’t help matters.

    The Lerners are some cheap SOBs

    Why not catch the train from DC to Philadelphia? A much shorter trip and no traffic.

    This is one place where Dan Snyder is leaps and bounds better than the Lerners, care for his players comfort and well being.

    • NatsLady - Aug 27, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      Gee, I dunno. Wouldn’t they have to take the bus to the train anyway, and another bus from the train in Philly to their hotel, and wait for luggage to be transferred at both ends? As opposed to stepping into one of those custom buses that tour bands have, with all the comforts of home and going direct, door-to-door?

  2. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 27, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    When did he first notice his weak back?

  3. thomaswell - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    chances that nats buyout ALR next year? right now it’s 50/50 only because of the damn MASN lawsuit. if nats win, i think we bring him back for 2015 but no longer. anyone know the details of mutual buyout clause in his contract? i know its $2 million for buyout or $12 million for 2015 option. But do both parties have to agree to exercise option?

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