GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Adam LaRoche would like to redo his debut 2015 performance with the White Sox.The 13-year veteran, who reported to Camelback Ranch on Sunday, can't change history. But he will have a chance in 2016 to at least return to his career norm after hitting .207 with 12
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Adam LaRoche would like to redo his debut 2015 performance with the White Sox.
The 13-year veteran, who reported to Camelback Ranch on Sunday, can't change history. But he will have a chance in 2016 to at least return to his career norm after hitting .207 with 12 homers, 44 RBIs and 133 strikeouts over 429 at-bats.
"We get to do that as a team this year and start over," said LaRoche following Sunday's workout. "Fresh record, new season."
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LaRoche reported no problems with the patella tendinitis in his right knee that bothered him for the final two months of last season. He adopted CrossFit work during the offseason and feels great physically.
Of course, the exercises won't necessarily help him hit the baseball. That's a change he's hoping to make after dealing with last year's mental anguish.
He started slow, as did the team, and neither recovered.
"I'm over it now, but as you guys know and probably saw, it was a grind," LaRoche said. "It's just a different feeling coming to the field when you're feeling good and playing good and winning games. As a team, there is just a different atmosphere in there. Unfortunately, the only way you can get it is winning ballgames. So, yeah, it was draining. I really don't want to go through that again."
"You look at his track record, and he's had seasons where some have been below what would be for him a good year and he's come right back and had a great one," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "The biggest thing right now is he comes in in a great frame of mind to help us win games. From there, you see where that leads us."
At the end of last season, LaRoche talked about figuring out how to handle being the designated hitter. He will continue lobbying for time in the field because he loves playing first base, but he understands the DH spot is where he can help this team.
"I didn't realize when you're used to playing first how many years, when you're playing both sides, in a weird way it almost feels like you're not part of the team, like you're not in the grind with the team," said LaRoche of the DH job. "You do feel a little disconnect with the guys who are out there in the grind. You almost feel like a starting pitcher.
"I've heard from guys who are good at it. You have to come up with some type of routine between innings where you feel like you're almost out there with the guys. I'll continue to play with that."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.