WASHINGTON -- Adam LaRoche continues to hit, but his strained right quadriceps -- an issue over the past couple of weeks -- continues to hinder him in other areas of the game. That was clear in Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Dodgers, as the Nationals first baseman went 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs but appeared limited on the bases and in the field.
Manager Matt Williams suggested that the muscle has been "gradually getting better," but LaRoche indicated that progress has not been steady.
"We're treating it, doing everything we can," said LaRoche, who isn't sure how the injury originally occurred. "It feels better one day, then kind of back to the way it felt at the beginning. So just keep nursing it and hope I can pull through it without going on the DL."
In the top of the first inning, the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez hit a ground ball to LaRoche's right. It's a play the former Gold Glove Award winner thought he should have made, but he seemed to move slowly after it, and the ball bounced into right field for an RBI single.
"That's another frustrating part," LaRoche said. "It obviously hinders me on the bases, but it's tough to move defensively, too. I don't have the range I normally would."
In the bottom of the inning, LaRoche crushed a shot that nearly went for a home run but bounced off the top of the wall down the right-field line and stayed in play. LaRoche barely rounded first base and wound up with a 335-foot single. He then jogged to third on Wilson Ramos' double into the left-center gap, where he was stranded.
Williams said that had LaRoche reached base again in the eighth inning, he would have come out for a pinch-runner. He left Tuesday's loss for a pinch-hitter in the eighth, with the Dodgers comfortably ahead.
With the Nats starting a three-game series at Oakland on Friday, LaRoche could see some time at designated hitter. However, he's not sure if only hitting would help the situation or cause him to stiffen up more than if he were playing the field. The only thing for certain right now is that LaRoche wants to remain in the lineup.
"He wants to play," Williams said. "I asked him to let me know if he's feeling too much of it, and we'll get him out of there, regardless of whether it's a day off completely or after the first inning."
Ramos comes off DL for series finale vs. Dodgers
WASHINGTON -- For the first time since Opening Day, the Nationals' lineup included catcher Wilson Ramos as the Nats concluded their three-game series against the Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon.
Ramos, who sustained a left hamate fracture in the season opener on March 31, was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday morning and batted fifth against Los Angeles. To open a spot on the active roster, Washington optioned right-hander Blake Treinen to Triple-A Syracuse after the rookie made his first Major League start on Tuesday.
Nats manager Matt Williams had expressed uncertainty on Tuesday about whether Ramos would be ready on Wednesday. But the two had a conversation in Williams' office, and Williams was satisfied with the way Ramos was able run sprints.
"My legs feel good, my hand feels good," Ramos said. "I'm ready to go. I've been waiting for this moment."
Ramos played in two rehab games at extended spring camp in Florida, then two more between Class A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg. He homered and drove in three for Hagerstown and spent nine innings behind the plate on Monday at Harrisburg.
"He should be fine. There's no issue with the hand. He's gotten past that," Williams said. "The lingering effect of this injury is generally some wrist soreness, so that may occur over the course of time as he goes through it, and we'll adjust to that. But I think he's good. He's ready to go. We just want to make sure we're keeping an eye on him moving forward, especially over the next week or so. But he's good."
Ramos now joins Jose Lobaton and Sandy Leon, giving the Nationals three catchers on their roster. That could change on Friday, when the club activates starting pitcher Doug Fister from the DL for his season debut. Williams said the club is still considering whether to keep three catchers for its weekend series at Oakland. Playing at an American League ballpark also gives Williams the option of using Ramos at designated hitter sometime during that series.
When he does play the field, Ramos will use a special pad at the heel of his glove to protect his left wrist area. At the plate, he doesn't feel the injury will have any lingering effect on him.
"A lot of people say that when people come back from this surgery, they lost power, but I don't feel I lose that," said Ramos, who hit 16 homers in 78 games last season. "Power's still there. Swing's still there. My approach is still there, so everything is the same."
Williams' car hit as he's being interviewed
WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Matt Williams experienced a bizarre interruption to his commute on Wednesday morning as he drove to the ballpark for his club's series finale against the Dodgers.
Williams was giving his weekly radio interview on 106.7 FM The Fan as he neared Nationals Park, sitting in traffic on South Capitol Street. He then found himself in the middle of a police pursuit as another driver bumped into his car trying to get away.
"Sorry guys, I just had an accident," Williams said live on the air. "I got a police officer behind me. This guy's going to try to escape."
Williams wasn't hurt in the incident, but his Chevy Tahoe took some damage to its rear.
"I'm good, I'm fine," he said after arriving at the park. "No worries. Car's not real good, but I'm good."
Fortunately for Williams, the collision didn't occur at high speed.
"It's bizarre anyways, I was just sitting there waiting for the light to go green," he said. "It wasn't fast, all the traffic was stopped. All I feel is this car just kind of nudge between myself and another car. It just nudged through. It wasn't a full, high speed, it was just he nudged through. It was odd."
After the driver fled and the police -- including a helicopter -- gave chase, Williams continued the interview for several more minutes, describing the suspect's car as best he could. Later, he told reporters that the authorities had gotten their man.
"I guess they apprehended him," Williams said. "Reports are that they found him and took him into custody."
Nats option Moore to make room for Fister
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals optioned first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore to Triple-A Syracuse after Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Dodgers, clearing a roster spot for when Doug Fister comes off the disabled list to start on Friday in Oakland. Washington has an off-day on Thursday before beginning a six-game road trip.
Sending Moore down means that for the time being, the Nats will keep three catchers on the roster. Wilson Ramos was activated from the DL on Wednesday, joining Jose Lobaton and Sandy Leon.
Moore had been Adam LaRoche's primary backup at first base, and with LaRoche battling right quadriceps soreness, that job now likely will fall to Kevin Frandsen. The veteran utility man has played mostly left field this season but made 35 starts at first base for the Phillies in 2013.
Moore was one of the final roster cuts at the end of Spring Training and began the season with Syracuse before being recalled on April 6. He has played 18 games, making two starts in left field and three at first base, going 6-for-30 (.200) with a double, two home runs and 13 strikeouts.
• Outfielder Nate McLouth, who tore some skin off his right index finger making a highlight catch on Monday, was not in the lineup for a second straight game on Wednesday. Before the lineup was announced, Williams had said he was waiting to see how McLouth was able to hit pregame before deciding if he would start. The injury could affect McLouth's ability to grip the bat properly.
Nonetheless, McLouth was available in case of emergency on Tuesday, and Williams said he would be able to come off the bench again on Wednesday.
• With McLouth out, Kevin Frandsen started in left field, his eighth start there this year out of 11 for his career.