The Washington Times - April 19, 2011, 08:20PM

Adam LaRoche made a throw to second base on Sunday in an attempt to start a double play that looked, from the outside, like a throw that caused immense pain for the first baseman with an ailing left shoulder.

Instead of taking the easier out and stepping on the bag at first base, LaRoche opted to throw to second base in order to get the lead runner — which he did with a throw resembling a lob. Manager Jim Riggleman said today that he asked the first baseman about that throw and that it wasn’t the result of pain but actually because of the path the baserunner took to second.

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“He said it wasn’t painful at all,” Riggleman said. “I didn’t think he was going to throw it to second because the runner was going to be in his path. He said, ‘No, I just lobbed it over his head.’ He made a nice play. I thought he’d take the safe play and just touch first.’”

That throws to second base have not yet caused LaRoche any significant pain is a good sign. While he learns how to play with a slight tear in the labrum of his throwing shoulder, the fewer throws he needs to make the better but, he has said several times that he understands that throws will arise and he’ll have to try to put as much on them as he can. 

– Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman did not travel with the team to St. Louis, an indication that he most likely will not be ready to come off the disabled list when eligible on Sunday, April 24.

Zimmerman, who is rehabbing a strained abdominal muscle, has not played since Saturday, April 9 when he aggravated the strain diving head first into second base in New York.

In his place, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alex Cora have played third with Hairston getting the majority of time there and have combined to hit .222 (6-for-27) with one home run, four RBI and 3 walks.

– The Nationals offense showed some encouraging signs of breaking out on Sunday when they put up 13 runs in a doubleheader and scored a total of 17 in their three-game series sweep of the Brewers last weekend. 

Hitting coach Rick Eckstein thinks that Sunday’s performance is more indicative of what this team will be able to do this season offensively, and is hoping that it could be what it takes to really jumpstart them as a unit. Still, the Nationals have won eight of their 15 games this season and the offense hasn’t truly performed on all cylinders until Sunday.

“I think that’s more in line with what our offense is capable of doing,” Eckstein said. “It’s nice to know that when we’re not offensively clicking that we can still find ways to win games. In the past, it hasn’t been this way… That’s what good teams do — find ways to score when they’re not pounding the ball out of the yard and I feel like that’s a strength of ours.”

– The start for tonight’s game has been delayed and there is no estimated start time as they prepare for severe weather to roll into the area.

Currently, it is not raining but the darkest could I have ever seen is hovering over the left side of the stadium and working it’s way across the entire thing. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available — barring the need to run for shelter. They’re expecting the storm to pass.