The Nationals said LaRoche is day to day with the injury, but he has been dealing with lower-back soreness for a week or two. He has been able to deal with it by spending time before each game focusing on getting it stretched out and ready to play, and it hasn't bothered him at all while hitting. But with the short turnaround from Saturday night's game, LaRoche couldn't get it as loose as he'd like to, and he told the staff before the game it was particularly sore.
"I felt like it was kind of going the other direction today," LaRoche said. "I felt like the more I stood around in the field and sat on the bench, the tighter it was getting. Hopefully tomorrow, having a day off can get it feeling better."
He went 1-for-2 with a single in two at-bats before exiting. He didn't think it was severe, and a doctor told him it was strictly a muscular issue -- there was no nerve damage or anything more serious. But when manager Davey Johnson heard LaRoche say during the game his back was tightening up, he knew he had to take him out.
"I can't lose him," Johnson said. "He's pretty durable. He never says anything, never comes out of the ballgame. When I heard that he had a problem, I immediately made the change."