LaRoche eager to join White Sox hit parade
BOSTON -- Adam LaRoche didn't know he was getting the day off Monday until he arrived at Fenway Park for the White Sox series opener with the Red Sox. The veteran designated hitter/first baseman, mired in a season-long slump, didn't argue with the decision made by manager Robin Ventura.
"I told Robin, 'I don't want it. But I know I need it,'" said LaRoche, who spoke on Day 2 of his two-day break from the starting lineup. "I've played long enough to where I know there's a time when you are just fighting against yourself every day. [Ventura] could sense it and he's been there, and that's why I think he said now is the time to take a day or two and kind of relax and try to reset.
"It will help, no question it will help. I just want to help out. That's the most frustrating part. Been there before, done it for plenty of years, and to not be able to do it for this long of a time, it just [stinks]. It's a mental thing now, I will say that."
The White Sox entered Tuesday's game with a .314 average, seven home runs and 36 runs scored (7.2 per game) over the team's five-game winning streak. They had recorded 10-plus hits four times and scored seven or more runs in four games. Add in a .386 mark with runners in scoring position, and it's easy to see why the team feels this current streak is different from other moments of excellence earlier in the season.
That resurgence on offense has not rubbed off on LaRoche. He has a .122 average (6-for-49) with one RBI in his last 14 games, despite making small changes in swing mechanics. So with LaRoche admitting the slump has become more mental, it makes sense for him to get the rest.
"I'm healing. My pride has been injured a little bit," said LaRoche with a bit of an exasperated smile. "I'm going to use these couple of days to kind of regroup. I told you guys before, it has been frustrating.
"I've tried to change small things that probably don't show up. It hasn't been a huge mechanical adjustment outside of some little things that you probably couldn't see unless you were looking for them. They just don't seem to be working, so keep fighting through it. Keep swinging."
By the time LaRoche gets going, he hopes the White Sox attack remains on an upswing. Ventura pointed out that it's no longer about what LaRoche has done to date, or any player for that matter, but how he finishes through the next 64.
"We've kind of [gone from] that mentality of 'I hope we are going to score a bunch' to showing up and 'We are probably going to score a lot of runs today,'" LaRoche said. "That last series against Cleveland kind of started it.
"Showing signs of what the lineup can do. Good to see, which I've been watching most of it. It's fun to watch, but it would be nice to be able to participate in that here hopefully shortly."