The Washington Nationals will receive a big boost to their struggling lineup on Sunday as they activated first baseman Adam LaRoche off the disabled list.
LaRoche activated, Walters to AAA.
— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) May 25, 2014
LaRoche was on the shelf with a strained right quad. He will bat cleanup in Sunday’s series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Before getting hurt LaRoche was off to a great start in 2014, batting .319/.421/.504 through 32 games with five home runs and 21 runs driven in.
To date the Nationals have a modest but not discouraging +2 run differential for the 2014 season. A contributing factor to their problems has been the ups and downs of their lineup. With Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and then LaRoche missing time because of injuries, the lineup has managed only 191 runs so far. If this team is going to meet its lofty potential, it will need better health and better production from their lineup.
Perhaps not everybody saw the wisdom in the Nats’ decision to sign LaRoche to a two-year, $24 million deal before the 2013 season. It turns out that this team needed his ability to thump in the middle of their lineup. Furthermore, if he continues to hit anywhere near his initial pace in 2014, Washington will be getting outstanding value for the production he is bringing.
The Nationals are largely considered to have one of the best rotations in all of baseball, even with Gio Gonzalez‘s recent trip to the disabled list. Can they find enough offense to take advantage of that pitching staff and force their way to the top of the National League East? The return of LaRoche will certainly help them in that pursuit.