Adam LaRoche’s status in Washington is unclear amid Prince Fielder rumors

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Adam LaRoche has seen the reports about the Nationals’ pursuit of Prince Fielder, but the would-be starting first baseman told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he understands if the team tries to replace him:

All I can tell you is, I don’t hold any grudges either way. 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.

It probably helps LaRoche’s attitude that he’ll be paid $8 million in 2012 either way, but he’s also coming off shoulder surgery that cost him most of last season and is no doubt focused on simply getting his own career back on track. He played just 43 games, hitting .172 with three homers before going under the knife in June.

Ladson speculates that even if the Nationals do sign Fielder they would hold on to LaRoche until spring training, so he could show interested teams that his shoulder is healthy. In the meantime he’s “feeling great” and has been throwing and hitting for several weeks. Presumably the Nationals would have to eat some of his $8 million salary to move LaRoche regardless of when it happens.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.