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LaRoche out with oblique strain

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LaRoche out with oblique strain

Given the injuries they've already sustained and the lack of production they've been getting from the rest of their lineup, the Nationals can ill-afford to lose Adam LaRoche for any length of time.

But it appears they'll be without their cleanup hitter and starting first baseman for at least several days after he suffered an injury to his right oblique muscle while diving for a ball during Wednesday night's game.

LaRoche finished out that game but reported to Nationals Park today feeling tightness on his right side. He attempted to take a couple of swings off a tee, but quickly shut himself down, not wanting the injury to become any more severe.

"I know these things can linger," he said. "I hope we caught it early enough where we can knock it out shortly and get back out there, because obviously the timing couldn't be any worse."

The Nationals are currently playing without either third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (right shoulder inflammation) or left fielder Michael Morse (right lat muscle strain). Zimmerman is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday but may not be ready until Tuesday. Morse will be shut down for at least three more weeks before resuming baseball activities.

The Nationals aren't putting any official timetable on LaRoche's return, but Davey Johnson said he "might be down 2-3 days." The manager added this oblique injury is "not in the DeRosa category," referring to veteran Mark DeRosa, who just went on the DL with an oblique strain.

LaRoche, who leads the club with four homers and 17 RBI, said he first felt something in his right side after diving for a groundball to his right early during Wednesday's game but initially didn't think much of it.

"I thought at the time I just landed on my ribs, or landed on something," he said. "When I came back to swing the bat, I knew it was something else."

The injury occurred before LaRoche attempted to steal second base in the bottom of the sixth, though he said that play didn't cause any further damage. The 32-year-old has only five stolen bases (in 16 attempts) in his career.

"Just doing what I'm told," he said of the surprise call. "I was ordered to go, which is a compliment. But I think I was thrown out by about 20 feet. They probably won't do that again."

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2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

Back in the olden days, cotton candy or a plate of nachos were considered bold ballpark snacks. Thankfully, the olden days are over, and a new era of ballpark food has begun.

And in this era, a menu item isn't considered complete until it's fried, sandwiched between something else and then finally drizzled with some sort of sauce. 

So, what's on the menu for 2017? Well, peanuts, hot dogs and apple pie nachos, of course.

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

With a new season about to begin, CSNmidatlantic.com has identified 10 of the most eye-popping and artery-clogging foods available around Major League Baseball in 2017. To see them, simply click on the link above or below to open our gallery (no fork and knife necessary).

After all, while peanuts and Cracker Jack are cute, they simply can't match up with a hot dog topped with bacon and a fried egg. 

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

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Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team's opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation. 

Scherzer has been the team's starter on opening day for the past two seasons, but a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger caused him to miss the start of spring training, and the World Baseball Classic. 

Scherzer did, however, make his first MLB spring training start of 2017 on Wednesday. The 2016 NL Cy Young award winner allowed two earned runs on five hits over 4.2 innings. He added four strikeouts and one walk, and reportedly looked just like you would expect from Max Scherzer. 

"To be out there competing, throwing all my pitches, throwing them for strikes, that's a great first outing," Scherzer told Eddie Matz of ESPN after the game. "Finger's good. Finger feels like a finger. I'm getting through that injury. It's behind me now."

With Scherzer set to open the season as the third starter in the rotation, that likely means that Stephen Strasburg will start on opening day against the Miami Marlins, and Tanner Roark will slot in behind him. 

While it's nice to have your ace pitcher starting on opening day, it's not a huge deal to have Scherzer start the season third in the rotation, especially because the Nationals starting rotation is the strength of the team

RELATED: Nationals' Tanner Roark pitches four scoreless innings to help Team USA beat Japan in WBC