GLENDALE, Ariz. — Tony Clark won’t divulge much on Adam LaRoche and the White Sox other than to say he’s keeping a close eye on the situation.
The Major League Baseball Player’s Association executive director made a previously scheduled trip to White Sox camp on Wednesday morning. The MLBPA meets with all 30 teams every year during spring training.
With talks on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement ahead, a variety of topics were discussed. Clark wouldn’t say it, but LaRoche’s sudden retirement had to be one of the topics of the day. Clark wouldn’t even confirm whether or not LaRoche — who retired last week over a dispute with the club about the presence of his son in the clubhouse — has or plans to file a grievance with the union.
“I’m not going to share with you what conversations we had or we didn’t have,” Clark said. “As I’ve mentioned in the past, we’re connected to the guys. We have been monitoring. We will continue to monitor. But as much as anything, with the open lines of communication that we have with the guys, they are pretty well up to speed with what’s happening and what’s being discussed.”
“When I say monitoring, we’re monitoring everything that is said and done.”
White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams said last week the issue wasn’t specifically about LaRoche’s son when he asked the veteran to dial back Drake’s presence in the clubhouse and on the field. Williams said the main goal is to set a precedent for future instances. In his retirement statement, LaRoche said Williams initially asked for a reduction in Drake’s schedule before informing him he couldn’t be around the club at all.
LaRoche has said he had a verbal agreement in place with the club that allowed him to have his son around the team. Williams said last Wednesday that LaRoche’s contract included no written agreement on the subject.
“We have a pretty good idea to what was discussed and in the fashion it was discussed,” Clark said. “Whether there is anything that happens as a result of what arrangement was in place remains to be seen.”
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The topic has also led to a broader discussion about whether or not a uniformed rule about the presence of player’s kids could be put in place across baseball.
“You appreciate that there are on-field rules related to kids and ages,” Clark said. “You also appreciate that any individual club has flexibility within their walls should it not become a broader part of the discussion that teams can function in accordance with the arrangement they may have there. So, you know there’s some flexibility. You know clubhouse to clubhouse there are differences in how one individual clubhouse functions versus another one. But having that flexibility is something that’s been there for a long time. We’ll assume, at least at this point, that will continue.”