Adam LaRoche Has Hardware Now

Lost in the dreams of a power-hitting, game-changing first baseman amidst the Prince Fielder rumors is Adam LaRoche. Yeah, he is still around and yes, currently he is the Washington Nationals 2012 first baseman whether you like it or not. It has to suck for the guy because he seems to be a guy trapped in a baseball team void.

He is a Washington National, but with all the recent Fielder rumors flying you have to think the guy gets the sense that he really has no place in D.C. What is going to make it worse is if the Nationals can’t reel Fielder in. Then he’ll be playing on a team that he knows was trying to replace him in the off season and every time he strikes out or fails to make a big play he will feel the eyes rolling in the stands and the murmurs of “If Prince was here…”

Yes, LaRoche is virtually in a no-man’s land right now and it is sad because he is actually a pretty good guy. However, LaRoche has one thing on his resume that Fielder does not: LaRoche has won not one, but two Golden Moose– or Mooses or Moosees or whatever the plural of the animal is.

LaRoche’s side sport and deer hunting group “Buck Commander” won two Golden Moose Awards for Best Sound Design and Best Graphics from the Outdoor Channel this past week. Congrats to LaRoche and the BC Crew. Photo comes from the BC Facebook page.

I like LaRoche. I really do, even though he might not be the best fit for the team right now. Good guy, good father, good hunter and he probably has like six 20-pointers on the wall in his den. I bet all Prince Fielder has on his wall is a Milwaukee’s Best neon sign.

Psssh.

Adam LaRoche is First Baseman Even Against Spongebob

Just when you think the rumors the Washington Nationals are truly not interested in free agent first baseman Prince Fielder someone blows it and starts the rumor mill again. This time it was Jon Heyman who tweeted that he talked to a Nationals player who says the Nats are still in on Fielder.

Absolutely bizarre a player totally going over GM Mike Rizzo’s Tommy Bahama shirt and making such statements. I am willing to bet it was Jayson Werth because, you know, he knows what it takes to win and that is all he is going to say on that. Or it could be Heyman just being bored and rehashing the Gio Gonzalez/Bryce Harper tweets as his own.

Whatever the case, Adam LaRoche remains at this point the Nationals 2012 starting first baseman and it is probably going to stay that way because Mike Rizzo has something against getting a player that might actually lower the boom on the NL East in the Nationals favor for years to come. I know, right? We can’t have things making too much sense in Washington.

I say this with confidence because recently a young nephew came up to the NQ Lodge and brought a video game called Nicktoons MLB where Major League ballplayers mingle and play with Nickelodeon cartoon stars such as Ren & Stimpy, Invader Zim and Spongebob Squarepants. All 30 teams are represented, including the Nationals and here are a few screenshots of some Nats and their video game images. Adam LaRoche plays first base.

Here is third baseman Ryan Zimmerman stepping to the plate in Bikini Bottom Stadium. He wears shades when he plays the field.

Video game Jayson Werth has a better beard than the real Jayson Werth.

I am pretty sure Pudge is the Nats catcher in the game, but I am unsure because I didn’t get that far in the line-up. The game’s graphics are so-so, the play control is kind of horrible and my patience wore thin.

Plus I couldn’t blow anything up.

The Nationals First Base Situation Is Getting Interesting

Bill Ladson TWEETS that Nationals first baseman Chris Marrero will not be ready for the start of Spring Training due to tearing his left hamstring while playing for the Licey Tigers in the Dominican Winter League– almost two weeks ago.

That seems to be news we and the team would kind of would want to know.

This all but guarantees that Adam LaRoche will be Opening Day first baseman, but the recent news the Nationals were heavily wooing free agent Prince Fielder and now Mark DeRosa suggests that there isn’t much faith that LaRoche has enough left in the tank and that his time in D.C. is close to its finale. There has been an out pour of support for Michael Morse at the position, but that is putting a lot of eggs in the basket of whether Morse can duplicate his 2011 season. If he can then it is imperative his bat stays in the line up and the Nationals try to find another first base power bat to only make the line up more dangerous. Morse, until further notice, is a first baseman.

Marrero batted 248/.274/.294 with five doubles, 10 RBI and a .567 OPS over 117 plate appearances in 2011 for the Nats. Marrero denies reports he will miss the whole season but admits he will miss part of Spring Training to make sure he is 100%.

I am surprised anything “tore” on Marrero. The kid is built like a bull. The news sucks because Marrero would no doubt want the chance to continue to show he belongs and even if he isn’t ultimately in the final plans of the Nationals, having him active on a field somewhere only puts him on display for possible trades.

So the first base drama has gotten a little more interesting. I admit, it might get downright entertaining. All we need is a spool of barbed wire, a cage and get all the candidates together for one big death match.

Out For The Season. LaOuche.

Reports are coming in that Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche will have season ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. LaRoche met with team officials today just before Tuesday’s game against the Cardinals to discuss his options. What he chose is a bitter pill to swallow.

The buck hunting first baseman has been experiencing shoulder problems since Spring Training, but he and the Nationals allowed themselves to allow him to continue to try and play through it. The results were a .172 batting average and a near automatic out in the line-up. Manager Jim Riggleman even attempted to bat him clean up in several games which goes beyond all logic considering the Nationals knew of LaRoche’s shoulder problems. LaRoche signed a two-year deal with the Nats in January worth roughly $15 million with a $10 million mutual option for a third year and $1 million buyout.

Well thank God the Nationals found out Michael Morse can play first base relatively well or at least until they can find someone better. Honestly, I feel for the guy. He really isn’t that bad of a guy nor that bad of a ballplayer. Even with a bum shoulder his defense was pretty bitchin’.

You know what else is bitchin’? LaRoche’s venison steaks. I bet the team buffet table will look empty without them.

Zimmermanpolooza Begins

You’ll never guess who is back. Never. You could take a million years and come up with a gazillion different answers, but you still would never get it. I would recommend not even trying because you’ll never guess. Quit now while you are ahead. Don’t waste your breath. No, don’t even make a dicky-bird. You won’t get it. Your mind can’t grasp it. It is impossible. You– what? Who?!

Holy smokes, you are good! How did you know?! Who told you?!

Yes, All-Star…Gold Glover…Silver Slugger Award winning… best third baseman in the league, Ryan Zimmeman returns to the Nationals line-up and Nationals Park after a two month absence. After suffering a torn abdominal muscle and undergoing surgery in early May Zimmerman, finally, FINALLY, comes home to man the corner infield spot which he is in on Tuesday night and batting in his usually third spot in the line-up.

Excitement should be thick at Nationals Park and the NQ has been doing our part in sending the fan base into a frenzy like a bunch of wild gerbils in heat by throwing up the #thingszimmermanwilldotonight tag on our Twitter account. Needless to say, there were some creative answers. Yes, Zimmermanpolooza is in full swing, but lets moderate ourselves, Natstown. No one is expecting Zimmerman to come out Tuesday night and explode with three home runs, seven web gems and the NL East pennant in the first night. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out ice cold. He is facing a formidable pitcher in Jaime Garcia and not some rascally, snot nose who wandered onto the sandlot in Syracuse or Hagerstown after all. But just to see him out there manning third base, in the line-up, wearing No. 11– that has to give you a burst of team pride. A player that can change things merely by his presence is something special.

Natstown loves Strasburg, Danny Espinosa is as cute as a button and Natstown will fall in love with young Bryce Harper when he lands (they will, kiss and all), but there is just something about Zimmerman that will forever make him a “True National” and the true “Mr. National.”

Alright. Enough of this overly sentimental tripe. I am getting teary-eyed. Now that he is back, we can all finally get back to important business– like endlessly debating when the hell he is going to get his extension. I know you want to talk about that for hours on end don’t you?

–In Brief Relief

Nationals COO Andy Feffer Needs To Be Slapped - Zimmerman is not the only thing “happening” on Tuesday night at Nationals Park. Some new concessions will be debuting at the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk and it seems everyone is excited, but me about overpriced food. Nats COO Andy Feffer might be the most excited of us all:

“I’ve been to stadiums and ballparks all over the country, and without a doubt I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Nats COO Andy Feffer, who spearheaded the project. “I think it will become the iconic, defining element of Nationals Park, the thing people leave and say, ‘Did you see that?’”

A concession stand…ICONIC. DEFINING. ELEMENT. OF NATIONALS PARK. Are you friggin’ kidding me? Add on the fact they booted a local Washington business (Five Guys) for a NY slop trough (Shake Shack) and there is a whole bunch of fail going on here.

By The Way, Craig Stammen Was Sent Back To Syracuse – To make room for Ryan Zimmerman. Yeah, you are right. Who cares? ZIMMERMAN!

Adam LaRoche Is Taking His Sweet Time – On Monday first baseman Adam LaRoche said he might have a decision on Tuesday (today) on whether or not he will opt for season ending shoulder surgery. Well, today is here and there is no word at the posting of this post. I hate it been baseball players play with my emotions.

Adam LaRoche Is Placed On The DL And Almost No One Notices – UPDATED

Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche has been placed on the 15-Day DL says Nationals.com. The shoulder injury that has been plaguing the buck hunting first bagman since Spring Training finally caught up with him. It is said that multi-talented Michael Morse will be taking over first base duties in LaRoche’s absence. A corresponding move to fill the roster will be made sometime tonight before the second game against the Milwaukee Brewers– although I don’t think anyone will notice. Maybe. I don’t know.

When your batting average is .172 and the manager hides you in the clean-up spot every other game you don’t usually appear on people’s radar screens. LaRoche probably could have jumped on the DL, got better and made it back with anyone questioning anything.

He would have gotten away with it to if it wasn’t for you pesky blog readers and that infernal puppy.

NATTY-RATTY-DOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

UPDATED: Nats beat writer Bill Ladson has tweeted that Adam LaRoche has a torn labrum and rotator cuff that potentially might keep him out for the rest of the season. If true this is a huge blow to the organization on the field and off as there are now questions as to why LaRoche was allowed to play with this injury for so long. LaRoche himself seemed shocked at the news and said he wished it didn’t take 45 games to figure this out.

LaOuche.

Questions need to be answered, but as with anything dealing with GM Mike Rizzo and the team, getting the truth will be hard. Oh, we’ll get answers. Things like, “Part of LaRoche’s rotator cuff was taken in the Rapture this weekend” which makes little sense. But it is an answer. EXPECT IT.

There Seems To Be A Mossy Oak Epidemic In The Nats Locker Room

Strange style is afoot in the Washington Nationals locker room. It seems the team is either trying to be invisible or about to embark on a mission of poaching.

Post-game on Tuesday night, outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse showed up (or at least his head, I can’t see his body for some reason) to do an on-air interview in an Under Armour Mossy Oak shirt. Strange enough, the night before right fielder Jayson Werth did the same and seemed to be in a rush to get away from the microphones and to his deer stand. Then, of course, who can forget the infamous Ryan Zimmerman standing with Charlie Sheen photo with Zimmerman in a Mossy Oak cut-off sleeve?

Absolutely baffling. I am not one to ever shoot down the powers of the Mossy Oak, but I have to admit it is strange so many in the Nationals locker room are embracing this woody-type of style. It would be one thing if it was only Adam LaRoche, but three other players? Pitcher Jordan Zimmermann is also a confessed deer hunter so you know he has at least a Mossy Oak jock somewhere. Man, what I would give to go to deer camp with the Nats! What a story!

Maybe, finally, we’ll get the Mossy Oak Curly-W hat we have all be craving and dreaming about.

Don’t lie, you know you want it.

Pudge Might Be A Little Too In Awe

Nationals catcher Wilson “Rhino” Ramos smashed two home runs in the Nationals 6-4 loss to the New York Mets last night. It was the first multi-homer game of Ramos’ career and the first multi-homer game for a National since Danny Espinosa did it in September 2010. It is rare that such a power display is put on at Nationals Park for the home team. Needless to say, everyone was excited.

Some more than others.

Dutifully preserved from the Nationals.com homepage is this wonderful of image of Adam LaRoche and Rick Ankiel getting it right. Ramos comes in and starts delivering the customary high fives. They got it right. They did their part in the ceremony. However, I am not sure what the hell Pudge is doing in the bottom right of that image. He looks a little too in awe of the situation.

But what a lucky, lucky man.

My apologies for the lack of updates recently. I have been supremely busy outside my illustrious baseball blogging life and I have been battling a particularly nasty Spring cold while at the same time keeping watch for a certain dark green muscle car out my window. I might actually need to take a couple days off for a bit, I don’t know. If I do I’ll let you all know.

If you have any good captions for Pudge in that photo, I want to hear them.

 

Jesus (Flores) Is Here To Save Again

Well, look who is back. Nationals Press Release:

The Washington Nationals today placed third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-Day Disabled List, retroactive to April 10, with a left abdominal strain and recalled catcher Jesus Flores from Syracuse of the Triple-A International League. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

It seems like an odd move and it sort of is, but the Nationals need all the pop the line-up they can get as well as allowing for Pudge Rodriguez to take some turns at first base while Adam LaRoche heals from a groin and shoulder injury. It is a horrible nightmare of a situation losing the defense of Zimmerman and LaRoche as well as their bats when you are going up against your biggest rival in a three game set at home.

I don’t envy Jim Riggleman or the mutant line-ups he is going to create. I suspect by the end of this week the team is going to be horribly malformed and have a Walrus Man living in the dugout.

Walrus Men always happen when men try to play God or Jesus or Flores.

Your Nationals Dispatch: Remembering The Rough Rider Edition

I thought today was going to be a good day. I was ready to jump on the blog and blog Nats, today is my first day on the job at SBNationDC and will have my first article drop sometime this morning and last night I had a Q&A session with a Philadelphia Phillies blog called That Balls Outta Here where we goofed off and talked some Nats baseball. That should hit the Internet sometime today as well. It has been productive around the NQ lately and I like production out of both my blog and my baseball team.

But the morning has been officially ruined.

I have been catching up with older news stories that I might have missed while the NQ was in Florida and this morning I was informed that Teddy’s Barbeque is no longer running at Nats Park and what is worse Teddy’s Rough Rider, a slab of pure Brontosaurus rib meat doused in BBQ sauce, is no more. It is an absolute travesty. The Rough Rider was like a Nats Park staple. A Rough Rider ordered with a side of grilled corn was the best ballpark food for the taste and price. Period. It also got the chicks talking. Chicks love guys with good meat. I once bought a rough rider, sat down in my seat to eat and must have had at least three or four women approach me, amazed at the size of my Rider and its magnificence.  I met a lot of great people and had a lot of great conversations that started with that huge ass rib. The Rough Rider was just made of legend.

Seriously, I am in mourning. I can’t really function knowing it is over. Pudge knows what I am talking about. He probably packed a couple RRs away in his time in D.C. Look at him throw up the one-finger salute to its memory. That a boy, Pudge. I don’t care what they say about you. You are alright in my book. I wish I had a Rough Rider right now as we go into–

Your Nationals Dispatch.

The Nats Win The Weekend – The Nationals won their first series of 2011 against the New York Mets yesterday. The two teams split the weekend, the Mets nailing the Nats 8-4 on Saturday and then the Nationals returning the favor Sunday by rallying and shocking the Madoff Metropolitans 7-3. The Nationals also beat the Mets on Friday which, if simple math doesn’t fail me, means the Nationals took the series. Heroes last night: Pudge Rodriguez with the go-ahead run, Laynce Nix with a three-run bomb and the whole Nationals pitching corps for combining for 17 strikeouts.

If the Nationals turned into ballpark food this past weekend then they turned into a rack of Rough Riders. Oh, RR! *sob*

No Line-Up Love Without Wearing A Zimmerman – All-Star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman sat out yesterday’s game with a strained abdominal muscle and the prognosis doesn’t sound too uplifting. “Don’t know,” Zimmerman answered when asked how worried he was about the injury. Zimmerman aggravated the muscle Saturday night sliding headfirst into second base. His absence from the line-up coupled with first baseman Adam LaRoche’s absence (shoulder, groin) makes the Nats infield– susceptible.

Zimmermanless line-ups absolutely terrify me. When I don’t see #11′s name in the Nats line-up I tend to throw a sheet over my head, grab a flashlight and watch the game from the fort I built in the middle of my living room out of couch cushions.

The SBNationDC Article Just Posted – Okay, here is the first article I have written for SBNationDC. It just posted as I was writing this. Check it out if you are interested in a wacky-jacky fan perspective of the most dreaded of baseball miscues– and the Nats have already had a couple this season.

I’m still learning the ropes over on SB and gauging what works there and what doesn’t so the article is a little wacky-jacky; heavy on the mystique a bit light on concrete baseball wisdom, but I think it is a good first piece coming right out of the gate.

And that is Your Nationals Dispatch.