Multiple reports from Citi Field today that Adam LaRoche's left shoulder, the one in which he has a partial tear of the rotator cuff, is bothering him again after making a throw the other night in Florida and will be given the night off. Michael Morse moves over to first base and Jerry Hairston takes over right.
So far, it just sounds like this is an opportunity to rest LaRoche, especially since the Nats face lefty Chris Capuano for the Mets. Originally, the plan was for Hairston to platoon with Rick Ankiel (lifetime .234/.285/.386 v. LHPs) in center when opposing a left-handed pitcher, but LaRoche's discomfort trumps that tonight. And with no other right-handed outfielders on the roster, Ankiel will be left to fend for himself.
It gives the Nats a short bench today, with only INF Alex Cora, PH Matt Stairs OF Laynce Nix and C Pudge Rodriguez available.
This is the first time in the regular season LaRoche has been given time off because of the shoulder. He has said that the only time the pain bothers him is when he throws -- that it does not affect his swing. But putting the pain aside, LaRoche is injured, and there has to be a loss of structural integrity, leading to strength loss, no matter how slight a tear we might be taking about.
The Nationals are treating this like it isn't that big a deal, and it may not be. But a rotator cuff tear does not heal itself, especially not without rest. Don't be surprised if we're talking about this injury on a repeated basis this season.
NATIONALS: Desmond-6, Werth-9, Zimmerman-5, Morse-3, Ramos-2, Ankiel-8, Espinosa-4, J.Hairston-7, Gorzelanny-1.
METS: Reyes-6, Pagan-8, Wright-5, Beltran-9, S.Hairston-7, Davis-3, Hu-4, Nickeas-2, Capuano-1