White Sox

Ventura: LaRoche must 'earn a job' in White Sox spring training

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Ventura: LaRoche must 'earn a job' in White Sox spring training

Adam LaRoche must earn his keep.

While the veteran isn’t the only player the White Sox have said they need more production from this weekend at SoxFest, he has been a focal point of a few fan questions critical of the club’s play.

The White Sox have no plans to simply cut LaRoche without seeing what he can provide them. But he won’t just receive a free pass, either.

Starting with Rick Hahn’s “no scholarships” comment on Friday, the White Sox have made it clear they intend to put their best hitters in the lineup, regardless of their contract situation.

In an attempt to help him escape the worst slump of his career, the White Sox continued to play LaRoche -- who is set to earn $13.5 million in 2016 -- late into the 2015 season. But White Sox manager Robin Ventura backed Hahn’s statement on Saturday when asked about LaRoche.

“He's gotta go into spring training and earn a job and earn the right to play,” Ventura said.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

With how the roster currently is constructed, Ventura has few left-handed power options. He may only have hit 12 home runs and slugged .340 last season, but the White Sox are hopeful LaRoche can rediscover the form that has led him to at least 20 homers in 10 seasons. They’ve added Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie, but the White Sox still could use more power in the lineup after they hit 136 homers last season, the team’s fewest since 1992.

“You always need power,” Ventura said. “It’s hard to win without it. It’s hard to play against a team that has it. It’s instant offense, you get runs right away and it’s the quickest way to either get back in the game or pull ahead in the game. In the ballpark that we play in it’s important to have it because other teams have it.”

Ventura could use more bodies. That much is clear.

[RELATED: Todd Frazier makes his introduction at SoxFest]

The White Sox need to further insulate themselves from injuries or poor performance if they want to contend in the American League Central. They’re in good shape now, but would vastly improve those chances with extra players. Though Hahn wouldn’t promise any more additions before Opening Day, he said he intends to continue to search for them.

“The more options, the easier it is for Robin to go with the best lineup,” Hahn said. “So if there is -- whether it’s the group that we have today or another addition -- it will create a situation where the best guys are going to play. And certainly would love to put Robin in a spot where he has more quality choices to make and he’s able to use the lineup card as a meritocracy and the best guys play.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

The White Sox three outfield prospects are creating a lot of buzz at spring training.

On this edition of the podcast, Micker Adolfo tells Chuck Garfien about a conversation they all had about one day becoming the starting outfield for the White Sox. Adolfo talks about his longtime friendship with Eloy Jimenez, his impressions of Luis Robert, Luis Basabe and the White Sox future.

But first, it's a conversation with MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez who has great insight on many of the White Sox players: Jimenez, Robert, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu. He tells an amazing story about why Jimenez decided to sign with the Cubs when he was a teenager, how much Abreu is revered in Cuba and much more.

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.