LaRoche on facing Baltimore, picking the Nats

It didn’t hit Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche until he was on his way to Camden Yards on Friday afternoon: this could have been his every day routine.

LaRoche, one of the Orioles targets to fill their first base hole this offseason, said there were three teams with serious interest in him this winter although things with Baltimore never got “serious enough” for him to really envision making Camden Yards his home.

“It got serious enough that we were going back and forth a little bit [in negotiations] but it never got to the point where I really had a tough decision to make,” said LaRoche, who ultimately signed a two-year, $15-million contract with Washington. “If it had gotten a little more heated, [facing Baltimore] probably would feel a little bit different.”

LaRoche will make $15 million in the first two years of his contract, $7 million this season and $8 million the next. He and the Nationals also have a mutual option for 2013 and LaRoche said Friday he has no regrets about how things transpired.

“I like it here,” LaRoche said of Washington, which is 20-23 entering this weekend’s set. “I like not only where we are at, but what this team is willing to do moving forward and the direction they are wanting to go. So far, it’s been a good feeling.”

Baltimore ultimately signed Derrek Lee –who was placed on the disabled list Thursday – to a one-year deal, and while Lee has struggled offensively all season, LaRoche hasn’t fared any better. He enters Friday’s game batting .172 with three homes and 15 RBIs in 41 games. Asked what kind of reaction he might get from the O’s home crowd, LaRoche –who was slated to bat sixth and start at first base – wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know what the impression here is,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s bitterness or they don’t care, I have no idea.”

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