WASHINGTON -- The rumor mill is heating up, and first baseman Adam LaRoche has heard the reports of the Nationals being in the running for free agent Prince Fielder.
"All I can tell you is, I don't hold any grudges either way," LaRoche said via phone on Tuesday night. "If [Fielder doesn't sign with the Nationals] and I'm the guy, I'll be out there every day and [will] do everything I possibly can. If it does [happen] and I need to move on -- hey, it's a business move. They are trying to put the best possible team on the field. I think they feel like their time is now to get to the top of the division. Hopefully, I'll be a part of it. If not, that's life."
For weeks, general manager Mike Rizzo has indicated that LaRoche would be the starting first baseman for the 2012 season. But the last time LaRoche spoke with Rizzo was in November.
"I haven't [talked] to anybody in a while," said LaRoche. "When the [Wilson] Ramos [kidnapping] was going on, I had some brief messages back and forth with Rizzo -- just kind of checking in. That was the last time I had talked to anybody. To be honest, I heard the Prince thing a while back and then it kind of fizzled out. ... I started hearing about it again [on Tuesday].
Last Spring Training, LaRoche was diagnosed with a torn labrum and rotator cuff. He only played in 43 games, hitting .172 with three home runs and 15 RBIs, before having surgery on his left shoulder in June.
During LaRoche's absence, Mike Morse -- and later Chris Marrero -- emerged at first base. LaRoche said in October that the Nats didn't promise that he would play every day at the position next season. LaRoche is set to make $8 million in 2012 in the second year of a two-year deal. There is a mutual option for '13.
If the Nationals want to trade LaRoche, it most likely would not happen until Spring Training. Opposing teams would want to see if LaRoche has fully recovered from his shoulder injury.
According to LaRoche, his shoulder is 100 percent and he was doing baseball activities on Tuesday. He is able to throw and hit the baseball without any problems.
"I'm feeling great," LaRoche said. "I've been throwing pretty regularly for probably a month. I started hitting a couple of weeks ago."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.