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04/14/08 10:05 PM ET

LaRoche's latest setback is flu

Slumping Pirates first baseman does not start opener in LA

LOS ANGELES -- Adam LaRoche would just like to play healthy at this point. Then he'll worry about trying to climb out of his offensive funk.

First it was the bruised thumb he suffered in Atlanta during the Pirates' season-opening series. It affected his swing, cost him one game and more than likely cost him points in his batting average. Finally that pain subsided toward the end of last week.

Now it's illness. LaRoche was a game-time scratch on Sunday when he showed up under the weather. He got worse overnight and into Monday morning.

"I don't know," LaRoche said on Monday when he arrived in the Dodger Stadium clubhouse pregame. "I guess it's the flu."

His children had the flu last week.

In place of LaRoche, Doug Mientkiewicz made his third consecutive start, his second straight at first base. LaRoche did, however, dress in uniform and took batting practice with the team. He would be available off the bench if needed.

Despite feeling sick, LaRoche spent much of the late afternoon on the field with his younger brother, Andy, the Dodgers' third baseman who is out with an injury of his own. Andy LaRoche had right thumb surgery at the end of Spring Training and is expected to be out at least until mid-May.

In the meantime, with Adam LaRoche unable to play, he has to sit on his offensive numbers that he'd rather not have to look at any longer. LaRoche arrived at Dodger Stadium hitting .105 with two extra-base hits and two RBIs this season.

But it could be worse: On this date last year, LaRoche was hitting .088, also with two extra-base hits and two RBIs.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.