"He feels a little bit better today than he did in Houston, but still, it's bothering him," Williams said. "[In the eighth inning], he couldn't score. He was feeling a little rough about a sac fly. At the time, we are looking to add on runs. We certainly don't want him hurt. That's why we made the switch."
LaRoche has been off to a great start. LaRoche is hitting .309 with four home runs and 18 RBIs after going 1-for-4 on Friday. Even more impressive is, he has a team-leading 16 walks and with a .407 on-base percentage. LaRoche said it helped that he is surrounded by good hitters this year and he made adjustments during Spring Training.
"I made a conscious effort in Spring Training and made some small adjustments to my approach at the plate. I'm not trying to waver from that," LaRoche said before Friday's game. "So far, it's felt good."
LaRoche has adjusted to opponents who shift to the right side of the diamond when he is at the plate. He collects his share of hits on the left side of the diamond.
"When I'm going pretty well at the plate, I can wait a little longer [and hit the ball to left field]," he said. "When things aren't going well, there are a lot of ground balls to the right side."
After this season, the Nationals and LaRoche have a mutual option for the 2015 season, worth $15 million, but one wonders if LaRoche will be back with the team.
For now, the Nationals are seriously thinking about shifting Ryan Zimmerman from third base to first and moving Anthony Rendon from second base to third.
Asked about his future with the Nationals, LaRoche said, "That's going to dictate my future here -- what they decide they need to do with Zim. He is our best hitter. We need him in the lineup. If the best option is to move Zim to first, then obviously that pushes me out and that's part of life. I would love to stay here. Beyond this year, this team will have a lot of playoff appearances. I just have to take that when it comes. It will be up to [general manager] Mike Rizzo and his boys on what moves they need to make."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.