WASHINGTON -- Adam LaRoche started in the cleanup spot against Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday, but the Nationals first baseman continues to deal with what manager Matt Williams described as a "little strain of his [right] quad."
The injury has nagged at LaRoche for the past couple of weeks, leading the Nats to rest him on occasion, most recently last Wednesday in Houston. When he has played, the 11-year veteran has appeared to be limited at times, especially on the bases.
"It's better than it was the last day in Houston, but nonetheless he's very guarded with it right now, hobbling," Williams said. "I don't think he wants to stretch it unless he has to. I think the hobble is probably a little bit by design. We've got him wrapped up really good so he can't fully extend as he runs anyways, so it looks like he's hobbling a little bit. It's feeling a little better, but it's not something that's going to go away overnight."
The injury certainly hasn't affected LaRoche at the plate, where he's batted .324/.427/.524 this season, with six doubles and five home runs. He picked up two more hits on Monday, his ninth multi-hit game.
But it's also not something that's going to disappear without significant rest, and right now, neither LaRoche nor the Nats are willing to take it.
"It's one of those things where complete rest would make it go away, but that requires an extended period of time, so he doesn't feel like he wants to do that, and we certainly want him in the lineup," Williams said. "So we're trying to guard it as much as possible, taking him out of games late in the game defensively, running for him when we get the opportunity, so he doesn't make it any worse."
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.