NEW YORK -- There is no question that 2015 has been the most trying season of Adam LaRoche’s career. But before it comes to a close the White Sox hope he can find something, anything positive to grasp.
With LaRoche in their plans for next season (he’s set to earn $13 million in 2016), the White Sox intend to afford him several more chances over the final week to find a groove he has sought and not discovered all season. LaRoche -- who’s hitting .211/.298/.346 with 12 homers and 44 RBIs in 477 plate appearances -- batted fifth on Saturday, the second time he has started since he returned to the lineup on Thursday.
“He’s prideful and he’s had a good career and you get one of these when you can’t seem to find it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It doesn’t guarantee anything in the future. That’s the one thing I think, having gone through a similar situation, it’s a feel you never got at times. Right now we’re trying to get it where he can have a nice feel going into the offseason where you can work on some stuff.”
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Whether it was the switch from playing in the National League to the American League or moving from being an everyday first baseman to designated hitter or something else, LaRoche has never been able to get on the kind of roll that has helped him produce 10 seasons of 20 or more home runs in his career. Including this season’s .644 OPS, LaRoche has a career mark of .799. Aside from 2011, when injuries limited him to 43 games, LaRoche has never produced lower than a .735 OPS in a single season. He’s been baffled, frustrated and uncertain why he has dropped off.
Ventura understands and it’s why he hopes for LaRoche to find one last positive before he heads home for the offseason.
“If not, you forget all about it,” Ventura said. “But knowing he’s a pro, he’s done it for a long time and you hope he gets something out of it for the last week.”