Sunday, March 27, 2011, 6:27 p.m.
By Mark Zuckerman
NATS PAGE NATS VIDEO
VIERA, Fla. -- Adam LaRoche will return to the Washington Nationals' lineup Monday and start at first base on Opening Day despite a slight tear in his left shoulder.
Results of an MRI taken on LaRoche's shoulder Wednesday revealed a slight tear of the labrum, a club source confirmed, but the injury is not serious enough to force him to the disabled list.
LaRoche has been dealing with minor shoulder soreness since the beginning of spring training. After taking a week off early in camp, he played straight through for three weeks and said the condition had improved. Unable to cut loose with full velocity on some throws, though, LaRoche underwent the MRI on Wednesday and took three games off to rest.
Team officials believe the tear is minor enough to not require surgery for now, only treatment. LaRoche plans to serve as designated hitter Monday night against the Atlanta Braves, start at first base in Tuesday's exhibition finale against the New York Mets and start in Thursday's season opener against the Braves.
"If it felt as bad as it did when I first got here to spring training, I would still play Opening Day," LaRoche said Friday. "And it's gotten a lot better since then. I don't think it's going to be 100 percent anytime soon, but hopefully I can get it up a little bit from what it is now."
Mark Zuckerman also blogs about the Nationals at natsinsider.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.