WASHINGTON -- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche took 50 swings in the batting cage on Sunday and he felt "50-60 percent" better and is still shooting to play Tuesday against the Pirates.
LaRoche also had an MRI early Sunday and it was revealed that he has a bruised right abdominal muscle, not the oblique that was first reported earlier in the week. LaRoche hurt himself diving for a ball against the D-backs on Wednesday.
"No tears. Nothing major. It's just a bruise, which is great news," LaRoche said. "It hasn't torn at all. We are doing what we are doing."
Like Ryan Zimmerman, LaRoche will take batting practice during the off-day on Monday and that will determine if he will play against Pittsburgh.
"I'm going to push it a little bit more, and [I'm] still holding out [hope that I'll play on] Tuesday," LaRoche said.
Zimmerman expected to play on Tuesday
WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who is on the 15-day disabled list because of an inflamed right shoulder, took two rounds of batting practice (one indoor and one outdoor) on Sunday and didn't feel any pain.
Zimmerman will take another round of BP during the off-day at Nationals Park on Monday. If all goes well, Zimmerman will start on Tuesday against the Pirates.
Zimmerman has missed the last 12 games and acknowledged that it has been hard to watch the games on the bench. The Nationals are 7-5 without Zimmerman.
"It has been hard the whole time, not just this series [against the Phillies]," Zimmerman said. "The team has been playing good. They've been winning. We won another series. Hopefully, we'll win again tonight. Taking two out of three is the goal. They are playing really well when I'm not in the lineup. [Stephen Lombardozzi] has been hitting the ball great, [Chad] Tracy has been doing well. It's nice to see those other guys step up."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He can also be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.