Adam LaRoche strolled through the Nationals clubhouse early Saturday morning, his left arm in a hefty sling, as he made his first appearance since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery Thursday.
Sunday afternoon, before heading out to the field to watch his son, Drake, play catch with Jayson Werth and several other Nationals and their children, LaRoche talked about the first operation of his life.
“It went great,” he said. “We’re only three days in but so far, so good. It’s sore now but this is the first surgery I’ve ever had and I thought it was going to be a lot worse coming out.”
“Good to get it over with and now the struggle is going to be watching a bunch of games and not being able to play in them.”
LaRoche said the timetable for his rehab process is six months and the target for his full return is spring training 2012 but he’s hoping, if possible, to be back to full speed before the Nationals report to Viera, Fla., in February.
“They’re saying six months but it’d be nice if I could work within that and get back a month or two before spring training.
“No regrets on doing it. If anything, I should have done it a few weeks before we did.”
LaRoche underwent an MRI in spring training when he first felt the discomfort in his throwing arm and it was discovered that he had a slight tear in the labrum of his left shoulder. He never felt pain at the plate but his average languished well below his career norms and finally, after the Nationals dropped two of three in Baltimore May 20-22, he felt it was time to get a second opinion.
A little more than three weeks after getting that opinion, LaRoche underwent SLAP (Superior Labral tear from Anterior to Posterior) repair surgery.
“I had questioned it for a week or two (before getting the second opinion),” LaRoche said. “I’ve said it a thousand times but with no pain hitting, it took a little longer to realize my shoulder had something to do with that. I probably gave it a week longer than I should have but I wanted to find out for myself if this could be a possibility and it finally ended in Baltimore when I said I can’t do it anymore.”