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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 02/28/2011

How Adam LaRoche developed his stance

By Adam Kilgore
Morning roundup

Adam LaRoche, described by former and current teammate Sean Burnett as "probably the most likable guy in baseball," has a way of doing everything smooth. His motions have been refined his whole life, since he followed his father, former pitcher and coach Dave LaRoche, around clubhouses as a kid.

The most relaxed part of LaRoche's game may also be the most unusual -- his batting stance. He stands wide open, facing the pitcher, as if he's curious about what's happening out in center field. It's different, but it works, and he's been doing it his whole life.

laroche 1b.jpg

When LaRoche was 11, Dave LaRoche took his son to the batting cage behind their home just outside Houston. LaRoche batted with a standard, crouched stance, and Dave believed his son needed to relax. He told him to stand with his body nearly square to the mound, both eyes on the pitcher, to relax his hands and lean the bat on his shoulder. He wanted him to know what it felt like to hit with a calm, relaxed swing.

After several buckets of ball, Dave LaRoche told his son he could go back to his old stance. "No," he said. "I like this."

He has not changed since despite at least one attempt. LaRoche began one season in the minors in an awful slump, and his hitting coach saw a culprit in his unique approach. "I'll tell you what - give me two weeks," LaRoche told the coach. "If I'm still not hitting, do whatever you want."

LaRoche kept leaning the bat on his shoulder, kept staring down the pitcher with both eyes. He caught fire and never heard from the coach again. "That was the last time anybody has ever tried to change his hitting," Dave LaRoche said.

FROM THE POST

Long before he became a National, Adam LaRoche confronted his attention deficit disorder.

Over the weekend, Boz wrote that Jayson Werth may give the Nationals a new edge.

Today, Boz is chatting at 11 a.m.

By Adam Kilgore  | February 28, 2011; 7:00 AM ET
 
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Next: Coming today: Nationals baseball

Comments

3 hours and counting.
Kinda wish it wasn't opening with Gaudin.
But I'll take it.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 28, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

On a related note (to 3 hours and counting), read today's WJFK radio Nats announcement here:

http://tinyurl.com/4l67cgz

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 28, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"106.7 The Fan will broadcast Nationals spring training match-ups as well as regular-season and postseason games."

Postseason games? Won't that cut into their 24/7 Redskins obsession?

Posted by: FeelWood | February 28, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

FeelWood:

We can only hope.

Posted by: BinM | February 28, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

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