A couple of pre-holiday morsels left over from the conference call with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo after the six-player trade that landed left-hander Gio Gonzalez was formally announced:
* Don't buy into all of those rumors about clandestine talks between the Nationals and free agent first baseman Prince Fielder. Asked if Adam LaRoche would be the Nationals' first baseman in 2012, Rizzo said, "That is correct."
* While Rizzo continues to search the free agent and trade markets for the combination leadoff hitter/center fielder he's been trying to land, but he again mentioned the possibility that Jayson Werth could shift from right field and start the season in center.
* No update on pitching prospect Sammy Solis' sore left elbow, mainly because Solis has been sidelined with a case of strep throat. Solis has been examined by team doctors and Dr. Lewis Yokum in Los Angeles. Once he's over the strep throat, the medical personnel will make another run at determining what's causing the elbow soreness. Solis experienced the elbow problem at the end of the Arizona Fall League season.