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03/27/11 6:35 PM ET

LaRoche has slight tear in rotator cuff

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche received an MRI on his left shoulder on Sunday and doctors found a slight tear in his rotator cuff.

LaRoche received a cortisone shot recently and is expected to be the designated hitter against the Braves on Monday. He will play first base against the Mets on Tuesday.

"There is a little bit of fraying on the labrum and from what I've been told, that is nothing unusual," LaRoche said on Sunday. "They don't have to [operate] on it, obviously. It's just some more rehab and strengthening the muscles. ... I'll take [Sunday] off and play [Monday]."

LaRoche has had shoulder problems ever since he arrived in camp. The pain grew worse and it forced him to miss the first few games of the exhibition season.

Gonzalez drawing interest with solid spring

VIERA, Fla. -- There are four teams -- Athletics, Astros, Braves and Padres -- who are showing strong interest in Nationals infielder Alberto Gonzalez, according to a Major League scout.

Gonzalez has had a productive Spring Training, going 20-for-53 [.377] with three RBIs. However, Gonzalez most likely will not be a fit with the Nats because they are expected to place Alex Cora on the 25-man roster. Cora is considered more of a leader and someone who can play all four infield positions.

Washington has been looking to trade Gonzalez for weeks. If they don't get a deal done, the Nationals most likely will designate Gonzalez for assignment because he is out of Minor League options.

Gonzalez has been with the Nationals for two-plus seasons. His best year with the club was in 2009, when he hit .265 with one home run 33 RBIs.

Ankiel happy to start on Opening Day

VIERA, Fla. -- Entering Spring Training, Rick Ankiel was one of three candidates to be the starting left fielder for the Nationals. By mid-March, Michael Morse won the job, leaving Ankiel fighting with Nyjer Morgan and Roger Bernadina for the starting spot in center.

A few hours after Morgan was traded to the Brewers on Sunday, the Nationals announced that Ankiel will be the Opening Day center fielder. He will platoon with Jerry Hairston Jr.

Ankiel won the spot because he is superior defensively. The Nationals are willing to deal with Ankiel's many strikeouts.

"I'm excited," said Ankiel about being named the Opening Day center fielder. "During Spring, you try to be that everyday guy. It's exciting."

Ankiel said he takes pride in his defense, thanks to his mentor, former Cardinals outfielder Jim Edmonds, who won eight Gold Gloves during his career.

"Since my time with [Edmonds], I work on that communication, make sure you get it right [in the outfield] and try to be really good out there," Ankiel said.

Detwiler has solid outing against Marlins

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler had a solid outing in a 6-4 loss to the Marlins on Sunday, pitching five innings and allowing one run on five hits. For the spring, Detwiler finsihed with a 2.65 ERA.

However, his solid performance on the mound will not get him to the big leagues to start the season. The Nationals' rotation is set with Livan Hernandez, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, Jason Marquis and Tom Gorzelanny.

"Det has made a lot of strides since he had that hip surgery," manager Jim Riggleman said. "He has really come on and has done some good things. Det has never pitched himself off the club. He is throwing the ball fine. He is a big league pitcher. We'll see where it goes."

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.