Adam LaRoche and his .172 batting average to get second opinion on shoulder injury

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Adam LaRoche has been playing through a partially torn shoulder labrum since being diagnosed with the injury in the middle of spring training, but a .172 batting average and .546 OPS through 43 games has motivated the Nationals first baseman to seek a second opinion.

Mark Giannotto of the Washington Post reports that LaRoche will be examined by a specialist today after being scratched from the starting lineup yesterday, and manager Jim Riggleman indicated that the injury has worsened:

He’s not progressing at all. He’s getting treatment every day and he’s sore. He’s saying it doesn’t affect his hitting, but he feels like there are a lot of balls he should be crushing and he’s just not doing that. He’s been in slumps before, but this just has a different feel to it so we’re gonna get it checked out further.

When asked if season-ending surgery was a possibility, Riggleman replied: “That’ll depend on what the doctor says tomorrow and how does it feel tomorrow.” LaRoche signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Nationals as a free agent after the Diamondbacks declined their $7.5 million option on him.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.

Ervin Santana gets Opening Day nod from Twins again

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Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.

The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.

Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.