ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Adam LaRoche doesn’t like it but he understands why he hasn’t been in the White Sox lineup this week.
LaRoche was out of the starting lineup for a third straight game on Wednesday night as he continues to try and solve his season-long slump. The White Sox designated hitter has recently communicated plenty with Robin Ventura and understands his manager’s position. LaRoche, who last appeared as a pinch hitter in Monday’s loss, has a .208/.296/.336 slash line with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs in 415 plate appearances. He has struck out in 28.7 percent of his plate appearances, up from 18.4 percent last season.
“I’ve been here before,” LaRoche said. “Not for this long. I told Robin yesterday -- we’ve had a couple of talks over the last few days -- ‘I don’t blame him at all. I’ve put both of us in this situation.’ I told him he’s got a lot more patience than I do. I would have benched me two months ago.”
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Ventura said the choice to start Trayce Thompson and J.B. Shuck this week has been another attempt to shake things up and get LaRoche going. The White Sox signed LaRoche to a two-year, $25-million deal in the offseason in the hope he would offer protection to Jose Abreu and give the lineup balance. But LaRoche has struggled throughout and never been on his game for more than a week at a time.
“You keep moving things around and see what happens,” Ventura said.
LaRoche continues to be mystified by the particulars of his struggles. He has had difficulty spotting any significant differences when he looks at video of his swing now compared with when he has had past successes. Whereas he didn’t panic when he struggled earlier in the year, as he always has, LaRoche admitted “when you get on later in the year it gets more difficult.”
So it’s back to the drawing board for LaRoche, who continues to search for answers. “I think just another little breather, LaRoche said. “A few days to regroup. Get in the cage, get a feel back and see what happens. I can’t blame (Ventura) at all. I don’t have a great argument to go in his office and talk my way back into a lineup at the moment. I feel bad putting him in this situation. It sucks.”