By Matt Snyder
Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche is probably headed to season-ending surgery on his left shoulder. The 31-year-old has been dealing with shoulder pain all season, but it was revealed Tuesday that he has a large tear in his labrum and a small tear in his rotator cuff.
“That’s not what I wanted to hear,” LaRoche told Bill Ladson. “I wish it didn’t take me 43 games to figure out something was totally wrong.”
For now, surgery is not the top option. LaRoche will try to rehab the shoulder and get it playable within the next two to three weeks while he's on the DL. He hasn't set a deadline on when his shoulder needs to be ready, but noted he doesn't want to wait too long and miss the 2012 season, too.
Though he didn't set a deadline, it doesn't sound like his decision is far off -- nor do the prospects of not having surgery sound great.
“Hopefully a miracle happens so we can get it playable," he told Ladson. "If not, I’m not going to milk it here and hope for the best. If this doesn’t work, I’m pretty sure I’ll make the decision to get it fixed.”
LaRoche has been pretty bad at the plate this season. Through 177 plate appearances, he's hitting .172 with a horrible .258 slugging percentage. While LaRoche is no star, he's much better than this. He had been enough of a stand-up guy to not use the injury as an excuse, though he's now saying it's probably part of the reason he's struggled to get things going.
“I know my body well enough to know when I’m feeling good at the plate … and it was not there,” LaRoche said. “That’s the reason I went to New York. I wanted somebody to tell me, ‘Listen, your shoulder is fine. It should not be affecting your swing. Get back out there and play.’ Or ‘There are some Major issues.’ That’s all I wanted to confirm.”
He got it confirmed. Now it's a matter of getting it fixed. The smart money is on that happening sooner, rather than later.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.