LaRoche on Williams, McLouth and his health

Adam LaRoche might be back from his USO Holiday Tour, but he’s got a little bit of time to relax before baseball takes over again.

Deer season, after all, runs through January 15th.

After that, LaRoche will start prepping for the 2014 season, one that he hopes goes better than the one both he and the team put up in 2013.

We know how things went from a team perspective, and we know how much LaRoche is itching to follow up a disastrous season on a personal level.

The now-34-year-old hit .237/.332/.403 with 20 home runs and 62 RBIs in 2013, numbers that are nowhere near what the normally consistent first baseman puts up in a season.

The batting average was more than 30 points below his previous career average and the slugging percentage was nearly 80 points below what he had put up in his previous nine big league seasons. LaRoche had trouble keeping weight on due to a change in ADD medication, and his performance suffered as a result.

The good news is that LaRoche now says he feels great after having surgery earlier this offseason to remove loose bodies from his left elbow. He said Friday night that he’s ready to get back into action under new manager Matt Williams and is excited to play under a guy who he knows from his days with the Diamondbacks.

LaRoche fully endorsed the signing of Nate McLouth to a two-year, $10.75 million contract. LaRoche has known McLouth since their days on the Pirates, and he has nothing but good things to say about the versatile outfielder who now will serve as a fourth outfielder in D.C., backing up Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth.

LaRoche called McLouth before he left on the USO Tour and gave a sales pitch on why McLouth should join the Nats. He raved about the clubhouse dynamic and said that McLouth would be a great fit in D.C., and McLouth took his buddy’s advice, agreeing on a contract while LaRoche was abroad on the tour.

Even while doing lots of hunting, LaRoche has been keeping tabs on how things are shaping up in the National League East. He feels good about the Nationals’ roster and is ready to get back out there and make up for all that went wrong in 2013.

One more month of deer season, and then back to work.

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