LaRoche easing back into game action

LaRoche easing back into game action

ATLANTA -- Andy LaRoche was back on the bench for the series opener against the Braves, but manager Jack Russell said that the third baseman hadn't suffered a setback.

"He's fine," Russell said.

LaRoche returned to the lineup on Thursday in Cincinnati after missing five games because of a sore back. He was 1-for-4 at the plate and made a throwing error in the 8-2 loss to the Reds on Thursday.

"I wanted to see how he made it through, and everything came out pretty well," Russell said. "We're going to careful in not running him out there every day and have it flare up on him again."

Akinori Iwamura returned to the lineup with LaRoche resting and Neil Walker moved back to third base after getting a start at second in place of Iwamura in the series finale against the Reds.

LaRoche played in 36 of the Pirates' first 48 games, hitting .256 with three homers and 10 RBIs.