White Sox

White Sox: Adam LaRoche embraces challenge of learning DH role

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White Sox: Adam LaRoche embraces challenge of learning DH role

He has struggled at designated hitter so far but that only makes Adam LaRoche want to embrace his new position even more.

Despite two days off to play first base in the absence of Jose Abreu, LaRoche is eager to improve as the White Sox DH. LaRoche -- who has hit five of six home runs this season while in the field -- has a .203/.338/.268 slash line and 11 RBIs in 148 plate appearances as the team’s DH. But rather than ask White Sox manager Robin Ventura to play him more often at first, LaRoche wants to improve at the spot on for which he signed.

“I enjoy it,” LaRoche said. “It’s different. It’s almost like a new challenge now because it has been a struggle. So now I want to do it even more just to prove to myself that I can figure this out.”

[MORE: John Danks' shutout propels White Sox to 6-0 victory

LaRoche knew he’d see more time at DH when he signed a two-year, $25-million deal with the White Sox in November. The club made it clear they wanted to keep Abreu in the field because he’s signed through 2019 and they believe he needs to keep playing to improve. Even though it’s a challenge, LaRoche understood it was coming.

“Somebody has to do it,” Ventura said. “And he knew that when he signed on, that was going to be his and that’s where he gets the mentality of he’s going to be able to handle it and do it. It’s a challenge for most guys that do it.”

Ventura said the key is to stay busy while in the dugout.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Houston trip jars Don Cooper's World Series memories]

“The biggest thing is to be occupied like you would be on the field, that your mind is occupied with what is going on in the game,” Ventura said. “When you stop watching the game and go in and do something else, your brain can go somewhere else. I’ve done it before and you try and stay engaged in the game like you would if you were playing in the field so you don’t feel as much like maybe you’re a third base coach, or you’re a guy in the video room and go back out and hit. You have to stay engaged.”

LaRoche stays busy by talking to his coaches and watching the game.

Depending on how he feels at the plate, LaRoche spends some game time in the indoor batting cages, having someone throw or flip or hitting off the pitching machine. He rarely watches video.

“For the most part just watching the game,” LaRoche said. “I think you see individual things you wouldn't see when you're out there consumed with the game. You just see little stuff and you're sitting next to the coaches half the time seeing their philosophies and different approaches. It's different.”

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One thing LaRoche has seen is that Abreu is a better defender than he expected. LaRoche praised Abreu for his soft hands and knows both need to be in the lineup for the White Sox to succeed. That’s why he’s so open to the challenge, though Ventura understands it’s always going to be difficult.

“Unless you’re just broken down and cant play in the field, there’s something physically wrong with you, not too many other guys just want to hit and not play the field,” Ventura said. “So it’s a challenge for Adam or anybody else on the team. And it is a position, and somebody has to do it.”

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.