Found April 09, 2012 on The Nats Blog:


Yes, it is too early in the season to make sweeping assumptions about any Washington Nationals player, but one player deserves a little credit where he's gotten none over the last year: Adam LaRoche.  This isn't to say that LaRoche can or will be this good all season, but it's time for his detractors to speak up and give him his due credit.

After hitting an atrocious .172 with a .288 OBP and just three home runs in 43 games last season, LaRoche elected to have surgery on his labrum and rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder ending his season.  After the Nationals offered him a two-year/$16 million deal the previous offseasons, fans were understandably upset and frustrated.  LaRoche had a history of durability, never playing fewer than 136 games in a seasons since his rookie year, and he was supposed to be at the heart of the team's lineup.  Luckily, Michael Morse stepped in and helped out in the cleanup spot.

However, LaRoche's absense left a sour taste in the mouths of many in NatsTown.  This led to widespread speculation that the Nationals would aggressively pursue Prince Fielder, that Adam LaRoche was overrated, and that he was overpaid with his $8 million per year salary.  All offseason, LaRoche took the criticism in stride.  The 32-year-old veteran knew what he was capable of and knew he could provide it to this Nationals team this year, so he dealt with the rumors like the veteran he is.

When Opening Day came around at Wrigley Field though, LaRoche looked lost at the plate.  He went 0-for-3 with 3 Ks, a walk, and stranded 5 runners.  Despite the fact that the Nats were facing Ryan Dempster who was outstanding, or that the only other Nats to get hits in the contest were Ian Desmond and Chad Tracy, LaRoche was criticized again for stranding critical runners that could have cost the Nats the game. 

In Game Two on Saturday, LaRoche seemed determined not to repeat his Thursday performance, and boy did he ever come through.  He went 4-for-5 with a two-run home run off the right field foul pole.  He generated four of the Nationals' seven runs that game by scoring them himself or knocking them in on the home run.  He looked comfortable at the plate, and his swing looked fluid.

When Sunday's contest came around, I personally looked forward to seeing how LaRoche looked.  He struck out twice against Jeff Samardzija, but six other Nats were put down on strikes by the Cubs pitcher on Sunday.  However, LaRoche's two-run home run with two out in the 9th inning gave the Nationals life.  His ability to hit in the clutch, combined with his above-average defense at first base, made him valuable to the Nats in the first place.  He's a guy that's knocked in between 80 and 100 runs throughout his career.

LaRoche isn't always known for his extremely strong starts to the season, and again, we're just three games in, but it's time for those of us that that have said or written harsh words about Adam LaRoche to give him another chance.  All offseason, he was the perfect teammate and clubhouse guy; he never requested a trade in the wake of rumors that other players could play the position better.  In the early part of the 2012 season, he's shown how he plans to contribute to this team in a big way.  If he can match his career averages in home runs, RBI, batting average, and on-base, his value for the Nats will be significant in a lineup that will need as much offense as it can get this season.


Stephen Strasburg, car salesman.

It's a good thing Stephen Strasburg has a Major League Baseball career to fall back on. After viewing Stephen Strasburg's new Toyota ad, below, (via DC Sports Bog) we can scratch "actor" and "salesman" off the list of Strasburg's potential career options. "I'm Stephen Strasburg, and Toyota is the easiest pitch I'll make all year"...

Nationals closer Storen has setback

Drew Storen still has discomfort in his pitching elbow and the Washington Nationals closer will be examined by Dr. James Andrews. Nationals manager Davey Johnson says Storen's elbow felt tender after the right-hander threw a simulated game Sunday at the team's spring training complex in Viera, Fla. Storen, who saved 43 games last year in his first full major league season...

Drew Storen's elbow has a date with Dr. James Andrews

Don't fear the reaper. That's just "renowned" orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews approaching with his scalpel. (As an aside: We challenge you to find a report referencing "Dr. James Andrews" where the adjective "renowned" is not also included. Is this qualifier necessary so as not to confuse the "renowned" Dr. James Andrews with...

Nationals Notes from April 9th: Storen, Rodriguez, Gorzelanny and Milone

Quite a few things went down with the Washington Nationals yesterday, and they're all worth noting quickly or repeating.  Hare are a few interersting things to read and think about from the Nats on Monday. Drew Storen’s lingering elbow – As we wrote about this morning, Drew Storen will see Dr. James Andrews, baseball’s leading elbow specialist, based on a setback he had...

Anthony Rendon Helped Off Field After Ankle Injury

Top Nats hitting prospect Anthony Rendon had to be helped off the field last night in Class A Potomac after he hurt himself rounding third in just his second minor league game. Apparently, it was not a pleasant scene. Bill Ladson of is reporting this morning that the injury was to Rendon’s left ankle. The slugging infielder had previously hurt his right ankle severely...

Nationals P Storen's elbow still bothersome

Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen had a setback in his attempt to return from an elbow injury and will visit with Dr. James Andrews. Storen threw a simulated game Sunday and his elbow came away feeling tender. He is currently on the 15-day disabled list and was expected to return this month. Manager Davey Johnson said that it's possible Storen may have a bone chip in...

Drew Storen Set To See The Doctor of Doom, How Will Nats Cope?

After missing most of spring training and the start of the season with elbow issues, Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen got the news no pitcher ever wants to hear, “it’s time to see Dr. James Andrews.” During spring training, Storen had some discomfort in his throwing elbow, so he was shut down and was given a wet MRI to check for any ulnar collateral ligament damage...

Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 15

With this week's episode, the Washington Nationals regular season is officially underway, and there's quite a bit to talk about.  At the top of the ledger is injuries and the issues with Drew Storen's elbow.  We talk Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel, and Anthony Rendon's ankle, too.  We spent a lot of time talking about Adam LaRoche's crazy start, and if you throw...

Inside The Park Blog: Nationals Face a Roster Crunch by Bradford Doolittle

CHICAGO | The Nationals have a pair of projected regulars rehabbing at Double-A Harrisburg in Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel. With both expected to return within the next week or so, Washington some roster decisions lying ahead. Morse will be the Nationals' everyday left fielder this season, though he'll surely slide back to first base at times in place of Adam LaRoche...

Injury updates: Rendon, Wang and Moseley

Here's a running list of injury updates around the Major Leagues: – Nationals prospect Anthony Rendon suffered an ankle sprain during a game Saturday night according to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington. – Right handed pitcher Chien-Ming Wang could be at least three weeks away from making his debut this season according to manager Davey Johnson (via Amanda Comak of the Washington...

Pre-Game: Game 5 - Washington Nationals @ New York Mets

The Mets will look to stay undefeated in 2012 as they play game 2 of their 3 game series with the Washington Nationals this evening at Citi Field. Now 4-0, the Mets are off to their best start since 2007 and will look to extend their win streak to open the season to 5 games, their longest such streak to start a season since 1985. Struggling first baseman Ike Davis (0-15) will get...

The Filibuster

Is the hype to be believed? Could the Nationals actually contend this year? Sawyer Ballston, VA ___________________________________ Sexy superlatives and arduous absolutes, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your 2012 Washington Nationals! Could they actually contend? Hmm… does watching a pitcher’s duel strike me with uncontainable bonerjamz? HELL to the YES, my friend! There...

Pre-Game: Game 4 - Washington Nationals @ New York Mets

After an opening weekend sweep of the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field, the Mets will welcome in the much improved Washington Nationals. The Nationals, who were already loaded with good young talent, were very active this past off-season. They brought in starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez from the A’s and signed tonight’s starting pitcher Edwin Jackson from the St. Louis Cardinals....
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.