Friday, May 27, 2011

LaRoche still hopes to play in '11

Though he acknowledges he will need surgery to repair a significant tear of the labrum in his left shoulder, Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche remains hopeful he can come back to play in the next month and avoid the procedure until after the season.

LaRoche, who went on the 15-day disabled list Monday after getting the shoulder examined in New York, was back at Nationals Park today and insisted he hasn't conceded that he's done playing in 2011.

"No, I'm holding out hope that [rest and rehab] works," he said. "Whether the doctors know something different, I couldn't tell you. Right now, I'm planning on that. And if it doesn't happen, we'll probably find out pretty quick."

LaRoche plans to refrain from any baseball activities for about two weeks, then work on strengthening the area around his shoulder in an attempt to return to play in about a month. If he continues to feel the injury is negatively affecting his swing after that, he'll have surgery to repair the tear.

"I'm just waiting, doing therapy every day on it right now with the hope that a couple of weeks of no hitting or throwing and just shoulder strengthening will do the trick," he said. "Whether that's wishful thinking or not, time will tell."

LaRoche learned in March he had what was described as a slight tear of the labrum. He acknowledged it hurt to throw but said it didn't impact his swing. He said today doctors never presented the option for surgery at the time.

"No. Never heard it," he said. "Nobody ever considered it. No."

After hitting .172 through the season's first seven weeks, LaRoche finally accepted the injury was negatively affecting his swing. Though he still doesn't feel pain, he believes the bad shoulder prevents him from hitting with full power.

He left the club Sunday and went to New York to get another MRI, which LaRoche said revealed a "really good-sized tear" in the labrum as well as "some rotator cuff issues." He said this doctor had not reviewed the initial MRI taken in March to determine whether the injury got worse or was this bad all along.

If surgery ultimately is necessary, LaRoche wants to make sure it's done soon enough to ensure he's 100 percent for next season. Though there's no specific "drop-dead" date for that decision to be made, it doesn't have to be made yet.

"That's one thing I definitely don't want to have happen, to affect next year's spring training," he said. "It sounds like we've got some time now. It's early enough in the season. I think these two-to-four weeks, whatever it is, won't kill us as far as if we have to go in a month from now."

LaRoche was asked if he believes he or the team should have taken any different tact after initially learning of the injury in March.

"No, I don't," he said. "It never hurt to swing. So my initial thinking was: It's not affecting my swing. I don't feel anything. I can play through the year just like this as long as it doesn't start hurting. It's just one small little thing, whatever it is, in my swing that it's doing. It took me a while to figure that out."


Will said...

It seems odd that the team doctors never even presented him with an option of surgery. It sounds like they hardly even consulted him at all, and management had the ultimate say in the matter, and that they still do. I don't see where LaRoche's point of view changed; he doesn't feel any pain and would have likely continued to do what he was (or wasn't) doing until someone said otherwise. It looks like Rizzo, or one of the trainers, had enough and decided he couldn't continue batting .172 and stay on the big league roster.

Either way, though, there seems to have been a decided lack of medical insight in all this. It's beyond me why they would let a player with a "good sized tear" continue playing, which leads me to assume that the tear wasn't as bad in March as it is now. But it also makes little sense why they'd force a player to continue playing through an injury that could/did get worse.

Players should not have the final say. We're paying doctors and physical therapists good money for their expert opinions. It makes little sense to allow players to keep on until it "hurts". It seems like that policy caused this problem to snowball into a much larger issue.

Anonymous said...

Another example of the Nationals training staff and their ineptitude.

Anonymous said...

Nope, more a case of sage, veteran, well respected baseball man Interim Jim Riggleman not doing his job. If anyone should have seen this (and he sees things when he wants to that's for damned sure) he or one of his coaches should have seen it before LaRoche. Again, ON Rig and his coaches. I sure as heck saw it from the beginning of ST? And it took a lot of courage for the guy to play through it ... but ...

Doc said...

It seems that we should expect more from the Nats staff and FO when it comes to such injuries. Of course they will deny any alternate approach---they always do.

Rizzo and Riggleman need to learn more about injuries, and the medical staff needs to learn more about what players do when they play baseball.

Anonymous said...

Hey La Roche: do us all a favor - stay away. You stink up the place, you have a terrible swing. You're a career 260 hitter for Cripes sake.

Stay away. You only hurt this team.

Anonymous said...

It's the weight lifting, stupid.

Heavy weightlifting does not fit the baseball player -- these players need to be loose of limb and muscle, not bound up in kinetic strength.

A ball player can lift weights in the off-season, but should only work out his lower body during the season and use light weights for toning for the upperbody during the season.

Why do you all think there are so many injuries these days: its the weightroom

John R. said...

I always believed that the Nats should have simply installed Morse at 1B. The crop of free agent first basemen this past offseason was not worth the money.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with both John R and the Anon before him.

Post a Comment