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Nationals activate first baseman Adam LaRoche (strained quad) from disabled list

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The Washington Nationals have activated first baseman Adam LaRoche from the 15-day disabled list, and he is batting cleanup against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

LaRoche had been out since May 10 with a strained right quadriceps before rejoining the lineup Sunday. He is hitting .319 with five home runs and 21 RBIs in 32 games.

Nationals manager Matt Williams is hoping LaRoche can provide a spark to an offence that is missing injured third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and left fielder Bryce Harper.

The Nationals have hit just .194 during a season-worst four-game losing that has dropped them under .500 for the first time this season at 24-25.

Washington optioned rookie infielder Zack Walters to Triple-A Syracuse after Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Pirates to clear a roster spot for LaRoche. Walters hit .182 with three homers in 27 games.

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