White Sox

White Sox: Early struggles don't worry Adam LaRoche

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White Sox: Early struggles don't worry Adam LaRoche

He has never figured out why he struggles in April, but Adam LaRoche at least has an idea how to handle himself.

The White Sox designated hitter/first baseman’s .716 career OPS for April is 76 points lower than his next lowest month (June) and 95 below his overall .811.

While he’s frustrated, LaRoche, whose homer Saturday is only his second hit in 17 at-bats this season, knows he needs to slow down the process, that ramping it up can only do more damage. He hopes his teammates can shake off their early struggles as well and let their ability take over.

“When you struggle and you’re losing games, it makes it really tough,” LaRoche said. “If you’re struggling and you’re still winning games, you can get through that and it’s fine. But when you have a chance to help the team out and not do it — just as a group we need to relax and realize how good we are and let it happen.”

Whether it was the flu or a sore back, LaRoche missed a fair amount of time in spring training. He finished with 46 official at-bats but also played a few minor league games to get up to speed. While LaRoche has hit three balls hard, one resulted in a double and the other robbed by Lorenzo Cain, he’s still trying to get his feel at the plate.

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He’s also acclimating to his new DH role, something that is an adjustment but one he expects to make. Having indoor cages at his disposal helps, too.

“It’s different but I’ll get used to it,” LaRoche said. “It’s a lot easier here. Spring training you can’t go anywhere. Here you’ve got a cage down here and you can move around, go get some swings in between at-bats. It’ll be a little break-in period here but I’ll be fine.”

Manager Robin Ventura knows how much of an adjustment it is to go from the field to DH. Players have to find a way to stay busy and keep themselves focused. Though it has only been a few days, Ventura likes how LaRoche has handled it.

“You don't feel like you're really in the game as much as you do when you've always been a guy on the field,” Ventura said. “It can become an uncomfortable thing for some guys. He's getting better at it. He has some good guys to lean on and try to kind of get that feeling back. He's done well with it so far. He's not a guy for excuses.”

LaRoche also isn’t a guy who panics. He has been down that road before during his 11-year career and knows self-inflicted damage is the worst kind. The experience gives him confidence he’s due for a hot streak.

“This is nothing I haven’t been through before,” LaRoche said. “I’ve had a lot of years where it has taken me a minute to get going. The bright side there is I’ve been through it before. A younger me would get really frustrated, but I know that doesn’t help accomplish anything.”

Revenge tour: After Eloy Jimenez homered against Cubs, Yoan Moncada homered against Red Sox

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USA TODAY

Revenge tour: After Eloy Jimenez homered against Cubs, Yoan Moncada homered against Red Sox

Call it the White Sox Hitters Revenge Tour.

Last week, Eloy Jimenez provided the single best image of rebuilding progress to date for the White Sox, smashing a game-winning homer in the ninth inning against the Cubs, the team that traded him, at Wrigley Field, the park he always assumed would be the one he'd call home as a big leaguer.

Well, a week later, Yoan Moncada exacted similar revenge on the team that traded him.

In the first of a three-game series between the White Sox and Boston Red Sox, Moncada took a second-inning pitch out to left field, depositing a ball over the top of the Green Monster for a tie-breaking two-run homer at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox traded Moncada — as part of a package that also included Michael Kopech and Luis Basabe — to the White Sox during the Winter Meetings in 2016 in the deal that jump-started the South Side rebuilding project.

Between signing with the Red Sox in 2015 and making his White Sox debut in 2017, Moncada spent time as the No. 1 overall prospect in the game. After a disappointing first full season in the majors last year, Moncada is having a much better go of things in 2019, bringing a .295/.347/.509 slash line into Monday night, when he belted his 13th home run of the season.

Of course, the Red Sox are pretty happy with their return in that trade, Chris Sale, who in addition to being one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past two and a half seasons got the championship-clinching out in the World Series last October.

But part of the reason the White Sox future is so bright is the return they got in the Sale trade. And one of those players got his revenge, Eloy style, on Monday night.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Chris Getz on Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal and more!

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Chris Getz on Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal and more!

Chuck Garfien gets the inside info about some of the top prospects in the White Sox organization from director of player development Chris Getz.

They talk about the wow factor of Luis Robert, what he's working on before being promoted to Triple-A, if he can make the majors in 2019, what kind of major league player he will be and more (3:45)

-Why Nick Madrigal has the "it" factor and why he might have been disappointed with Getz at the start of the season (10:10)

-Why Zack Burdi has struggled this season and a great sign of things to come (16:30)

-Why Kyle Kubat is so highly thought of in the White Sox farm system (18:20)

-How close Dylan Cease is to the major leagues (20:15) and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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