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.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.