LaRoche’s take on Tyler Moore’s demotion
By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter
With the myriad injuries that they’ve had this season, the Nationals have frequently had to ship players to and from the Minor Leagues. The team’s decision to option Tyler Moore to Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday night, however, had nothing to do with health.
The 26-year-old first baseman and outfielder is one of the few guys in Washington who hasn’t had injury problems this year. But his problems at the plate, where the Nationals counted on him to be a key contributor off the bench, have been just as concerning.
Moore batted .158 (15-for-94) in 37 games with the Nationals, including just five doubles and two home runs. He was sent down in favor of first baseman Chris Marrero, another slugger who has simply had a better season so far.
“I’m not up here for my defense. I’m up here for my hitting, and I’m not doing it. There’s no excuses,” Moore said on Sunday night. “Stuff wasn’t falling like it usually does. I was striking out too much. I just had to make some adjustments, and I didn’t make them quick enough.”
Manager Davey Johnson said that his plan is to have Moore get regular at-bats at Syracuse and regain his confidence. And nobody understands Johnson’s thinking better than veteran first baseman Adam LaRoche, who has served as a mentor for the 26-year-old as he tries to find his footing.
“That’s the hardest thing, being a younger guy, getting sent down for the first time, it’s hard to see a positive in that,” LaRoche said. “We’ve all known it since he’s been up here that he’s an everyday player for a lot of people. He’s proved that in the minor leagues, what he can do with 500 or 600 at-bats, and he’s in a bad spot here. He just doesn’t get a lot of at-bats. You can’t expect a guy with not a lot of big-league time to be productive off the bench. It’s just too hard.”
“I hate it for him because I love having him in this clubhouse and I love having his bat and the fact that he can play outfield, play first base,” LaRoche continued. “Selfishly, it’d be nice to have him up here but there’s no doubt it’s the best thing for him.”