GLENDALE, Ariz. – Team unity? White Sox manager Robin Ventura said that is not issue in the wake of Adam LaRoche’s unexpected retirement.
“They’re going to be all right,’’ Ventura said. “They’re a tough group. One thing is for sure, they’re together, 100 percent. So that part I’m not worried about.’’
That was one of Ventura’s more expansive answers about the LaRoche saga. The media covering the story was so large, Ventura’s conference had to be held in a meeting room at the team’s spring training complex. LaRoche’s hadn’t spoken publicly about his retiring because the Sox asked him to cut down on the amount of time his son could be in the clubhouse, and his statement via twitter was minutes from being posted so Ventura declined to say much about it.
“It’s always raw any time a guy is released or retired,’’ Ventura said. “That stuff is always tough. I’m dealing with that more than any of the other stuff. That’s my concern, to get them focused right back on track and ready for the season. Everybody has their job to do, and get out there and be ready to do it.’’
New Sox Todd Frazier, whose locker was next to LaRoche’s, said he was unaware of any player complaining about LaRoche’s son.
“He didn’t cause any problems for me,’’ Frazier said. “We’re going to miss him.’’
Frazier understood where LaRoche was coming from.
“I’m a big loyalty guy, a big promise guy,’’ he said. “If you’re going to promise somebody something you have to go through with it, whatever that is, or to the extent to whatever it was.’’
Free agency fallout
One of Chris Sale’s most scathing comments about the fallout from the Adam LaRoche controversy is how the Sox are perceived around baseball because of it. Asked if he thought it would hurt the team’s chances in future free agent pursuits, Sale said, “I don’t see how it couldn’t.’’
“I don’t see why someone with a handful of offers on the table could look and say, ‘you know what, that’s a mess I don’t want to go into. No. It’s unfortunate for everyone else involved because this ultimately comes down to the White Sox.’’
Sale, who is signed with the Sox through 2017 with club options for 2018 and 2019, said his commitment to the franchise remains strong despite his scathing comments about vice president Ken Williams Friday.
“I’m going to be here for a while,’’ he said. “I still have a lot of time left in this uniform. I’m not shying away from playing as hard as I can in this uniform. This doesn’t have anything to do with my teammates or the organization.’’
The Sox have filed LaRoche’s retirement paperwork, which puts the 40-man roster at 37 after lefty Zach Phillips rejected an outright to AAA Charlotte and became a free agent.