White Sox announce deal with LaRoche

CHICAGO (AP) When Adam LaRoche was a kid, he used to hang with his father at old Comiskey Park when Dave was a coach with the Chicago White Sox.

Now LaRoche gets to play for one of his dad’s old teams.

The White Sox are bringing LaRoche back to Chicago to serve as their primary designated hitter, announcing a $25 million, two-year contract with the veteran slugger on Tuesday.

Manager Robin Ventura, assistant hitting coach Harold Baines, bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen and first base coach Daryl Boston all played for the White Sox during Dave LaRoche’s coaching stint with the team from 1989-91.

”I’ve honestly always been a White Sox fan, and I don’t just say that,” LaRoche said. ”I was at the age then where I was starting to understand the game and figure it out, and happened to be in a White Sox uniform quite a bit around that old stadium and always really enjoyed being there and being around those guys.”

LaRoche, who turned 35 on Nov. 6, gives the White Sox some sorely needed power from the left side. The first baseman hit .259 with 26 homers and 92 RBIs in 140 games this year for NL East champion Washington. He has 243 homers and 838 RBIs in 11 years in the majors.

LaRoche won a Gold Glove in 2012, but he is likely to spend most of his time at DH. Chicago has AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu at first, and the Cuban slugger hit .317 with 36 homers and 107 RBIs in 145 games this season.

LaRoche said he never imagined signing anywhere to be even a part-time DH, but he talked to Ventura about his plans and thinks everything is going to work out.

”I’m looking forward to hopefully being in the middle of the lineup and having a chance to drive some runs in,” LaRoche said.

Ventura guessed LaRoche would make two starts per week at first, and he said he thought the situation would help Abreu as well.

”It’s not going to be bad for him to have a few days off in there and I think that’s the same for both of them,” Ventura said. ”I don’t want to take first base away from Adam either.”

LaRoche has spent almost his entire career in the NL, save for six games for Boston in 2009. The transition to regular DH duties is a tricky one, but Ventura said he thinks LaRoche’s experience will help.

”Adam’s signing addresses several important needs for our club heading into the 2015 season,” general manager Rick Hahn said in a release. ”He provides a proven left-handed bat in the middle of our lineup, brings a valuable mix of the ability to get on base and power, and he is a veteran leader on the field and in the clubhouse.”

He gets $12 million next year and $13 million in 2016. He would earn $100,000 for winning an MVP award, $100,000 for World Series MVP, $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $25,000 for Gold Glove and $15,000 for Silver Slugger. La Roche also would get $25,000 if he’s an All-Star starter and $15,000 if he’s a reserve, and $50,000 if he’s on The Sporting News postseason all-star team.