LaRoche To Begin Rehab With Jacksonville

Andy LaRoche is expected to make his 2008 debut with Jacksonville on Wednesday as he begins his rehabilitation from a thumb injury he suffered during spring training. LaRoche is expected to be the designated hitter today on a rehab assignment that will likely last for 20 days.

LaRoche was battling to be the Dodgers Opening Day third baseman before the injury sidelined him. After he went down, Nomar Garciaparra and Tony Abreu followed him to the disabled list, leaving the team forced to turn to Blake DeWitt early in the season. DeWitt spent most of 2007 with high Class A Inland Empire, but he’s held his own by hitting .260/.373/.340 in 50 at-bats. Garciaparra has returned from his wrist injury last week, which helps reduce the pressure on LaRoche to rush back from the injury.

LaRoche hit .226/.365/.312 in 93 at-bats with the Dodgers last year. The No. 2 prospect in the Dodgers system, he hit .309/.399/.589 in 265 at-bats with Triple-A Las Vegas before his call-up to Los Angeles last season.