By Evan Brunell
The Nationals are leaning toward placing first baseman Adam LaRoche on the disabled list, MLB.com is reporting.
It's a transaction that looks overdue, as LaRoche is hitting .172/.288/.258 and somehow has avoided being benched or put on the DL up to this point. LaRoche is hobbled by a partially torn labrum in the shoulder that the team said was not affecting his hitting when the injury was revealed. Clearly, that's not the case.
LaRoche has always been a slow starter, with a career .248/.324/.435 mark in the first half of the year, spiking to .295/.354/.535 after the break. Still, his numbers suggest something beyond typical first-half struggles. If LaRoche hits the disabled list, Mike Morse stands to benefit the most. That would allow the team to play Laynce Nix full-time as well. Nix has stolen quite a few at-bats from Morse in left.
Rick Ankiel is in extended spring training for rehab and could start playing in minor-league games shortly. That means he could be back in a week or two.
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