VIERA, Fla. -- Position players are not expected to report to Spring Training until Thursday, but first baseman Adam LaRoche arrived Monday morning and was hitting in the batting cage.
LaRoche, who missed most of last season because of a left shoulder injury, said he is close to being 100 percent. The key will be how well he can throw the baseball and how much power he has in his swing. LaRoche hit only three home runs in 43 games in 2011.
"By the end of camp, it's going to be really good swinging the bat, and I think throwing will eventually come," LaRoche said. "The problem last year, it wasn't just the throwing. ... When I had to ... make the hard throw, it would hurt two to three days. If I could coast through a season and just flip the ball around, it wouldn't be as big of an issue. Now ... it's nice to know that I can let it loose if I have to and I don't have to pay for it in the next couple of days."
During the offseason, the Nationals tried to sign first baseman Prince Fielder, who ended up signing a nine-year deal with the Tigers. LaRoche said he understood why the Nationals would want a power hitter like Fielder on their roster.
"I was never upset about it," LaRoche said. "If anything, I have respect for this team for trying to make us better everywhere they can. ... I think it shows the direction they are trying to go. [They are saying], 'Hey, we'll do whatever we can possibly do.' And if you get a player like that and he is a game changer for the long term, I totally would have understood it. I'm glad it didn't' work out. I'm glad to be back here, I love these guys, I'm looking forward to playing a full season this year and being a part of it."
No plans for Nats to add right-handed bat
VIERA Fla. -- With the retirement of Mike Cameron, don't look for the Nationals to acquire a right-handed-hitting outfielder. They feel they have enough from within if they decide to have a platoon situation in either center or right field.
If Cameron had played this season, he could have been in a platoon situation with Rick Ankiel in center field. With Cameron out of the picture, Washington could have Jason Michaels replace Cameron. The Nationals have not ruled out Mark DeRosa platooning in the outfield. If Ankiel was benched against a left-hander, DeRosa would play right field, while switching Jayson Werth over to center.
"The move will come within this room," general manager Mie Rizzo said. "I think we allowed ourselves enough depth when we signed enough guys ... at that position -- right-handed and left-handed to give [manager] Davey Johnson the flexibility to do what he has to do during the season."
Then again, the Nats could choose to start the year with Werth in center field and Bryce Harper in right. Manager Davey Johnson has said he is going to give Harper every chance to make the team out of Spring Training.
Nats not going to tinker with rotation
VIERA, Fla. -- Even though Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is on an innings limit this season, the Nationals are not planning to use a six-man rotation or even think about having Strasburg start the season a month later. Strasburg is slated to pitch 160 innings in 2012.
"There isn't going to be a whole lot of tinkering going on," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We are going to run him out there until his innings are done then stop him from pitching. ... We are going to be as careful as we can with everybody. We are not going to discuss six-man rotations, we're not [going to start him a month later] just to get him through a season."
One pitcher in the mix for the five-man rotation is Chien-Ming Wang. Manager Davey Johnson said Monday that Wang has a stiff right shoulder, but he was still able to have his bullpen session.
Wang most likely will have his next bullpen session on Wednesday. Wang is looking to play his first full season since 2007. He missed over two years of action because of shoulder problems.
Prospect Rendon will play multiple positions
VIERA Fla. -- Infielder Anthony Rendon, the sixth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, was informed by manager Davey Johnson recently that he will play third base, shortstop and maybe second base. Before Rendon plays second, Johnson wants to him to improve his footwork around the bag.
Rendon, who has a Major League contract, realizes that he is a long shot to make the team, but expects to learn a lot while he is big league camp.
"I'm not like, 'Oh, yeah, I'm trying to go straight to the big leagues,'" Rendon said. "I'm just taking my time and try to get a feel for everything and get used to this lifestyle."
Asked if he was mentally prepared to play another position if Ryan Zimmerman is the third baseman for the long term, Rendon said, "He is going to be here a long time, I'm pretty sure. He is a great player. I'm not coming in here take anything away from him. He is set in stone here. He deserves everything he has earned."
Rendon is a player with a history of injuries -- he has had shoulder and ankle problems in the past. But injuries didn't appear to slow Rendon's season in 2011. In 63 games, he hit .327 with six home runs, 27 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .520 for Rice.
Rendon enters Spring Training feeling 100 percent and ready to play the field.
"It feels good. I'm ready to go. I haven't had any setbacks in the offseason. I'm excited to get started," Rendon said.
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.