BALTIMORE -- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche was not in Sunday's lineup against the Orioles because of an ailing left shoulder. In fact, LaRoche plans to get a second opinion on Monday to make sure that everything is OK with the shoulder.
During Spring Training, LaRoche was diagnosed with a torn labrum, and he's beginning to feel that the shoulder is hurting his swing. In 43 games, LaRoche is hitting .172 with three home runs and 15 RBIs.
While the shoulder doesn't hurt when he swings the bat, LaRoche feels it is weak, and the reason he cannot generate much power. The only time his shoulder hurts is when he throws the baseball. LaRoche has been told that he could play the entire season with the injury.
"It has been frustrating for me," LaRoche said. "It has been kind of a nagging thing. It doesn't necessarily hurt when I swing, but I'm [leaning toward thinking that it is hurting my swing]. I've got to think something is going on. Maybe not. I'll be able to give it a day and rest it a little more. I'll get another opinion and see if there is anything new."
While he is having a subpar year at the plate, LaRoche is clearly the best defensive first baseman the Nationals have ever had. His great range and scoops on throws are two reasons the club ranks eighth in the National League in defense fielding percentage.
However, LaRoche wonders if he's hurting the team by continuing to play with the sore shoulder.
"At some point, I have to weigh it to myself and say, 'Am I doing more harm than good if I'm not right at the plate?' If it's mechanics or a slump, I know I can handle it, because I know I can come out of it," LaRoche said. "But when I go this long and have the same results ... I'm not helping us like I should be, offensively.
"Defensively, I'm helping. I love saving these guys runs. Best-case scenario, we get it ironed out real quick, get back out there and put this in the past."
In LaRoche's absence, Michael Morse is playing first base against the Orioles.