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12/23/11 11:45 PM EST

Nationals counting on LaRoche at first base

WASHINGTON -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo reiterated on Friday that Adam LaRoche will be the team's starting first baseman in 2012.

For the last few weeks, reports have surfaced that the Nationals are going after free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, but a team source insisted that Fielder is not on the radar screen.

The Nationals believe LaRoche can rebound from a shoulder injury that forced him to miss most of the 2011 season. If LaRoche is not ready, Michael Morse, who is projected to be the starting left fielder, will move to first base.

Nats seek depth on bench, in center

WASHINGTON -- Having addressed their rotation by acquiring left-hander Gio Gonzalez in a trade with the Oakland A's on Friday, the Nationals' next order of business is improving their bench depth and acquiring a center fielder.

According to a baseball source, it's highly unlikely that Nationals will acquire free-agent infielder Greg Dobbs. The Nationals have already agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Mark DeRosa, who is expected to be the backup first baseman.

The Nationals are also looking for a permanent center fielder. General manager Mike Rizzo reiterated that they are considering using Jayson Werth in center and expanding their search to include right fielders. Manager Davey Johnson would like to see Bryce Harper to get a chance to play the corner position.

"We are still looking for a long-term fit for us," Rizzo said about the center-fielder position. "We haven't found it yet. We are still attacking all avenues to try to get one."

Solis on the mend

WASHINGTON -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said that Sammy Solis has yet to see Dr. Lewis Yocum about his sore left elbow because Solis has strep throat. Once he feels better, Solis will go to Southern California and see Yocum about his elbow.

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.