Union ‘monitoring’ LaRoche case, no decision on grievance

17 Comments

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) The head of the Major League Baseball players’ union said Saturday there’s no decision yet on whether to file a grievance on behalf of Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche.

The 36-year-old LaRoche retired on Tuesday after he said he was told by the team president to cut down on clubhouse access for his 14-year-old son.

“I think what you’ve seen is everyone trying to get a feel for what happened here and what tomorrow may look like,” union chief Tony Clark said after a meeting with San Diego Padres players at spring training. “All I can tell you is we’re monitoring what’s going on.”

Clark said he’s been in contact with LaRoche, but he deflected a question of whether the union knows if LaRoche had a verbal agreement with the White Sox to allow his son, Drake, to be around the team.

Clark did say the union is interested in separate rules and policies set by clubs, especially if they violate baseball’s labor contract.

“We are interested in those, particularly when we find out about them,” Clark said. “And we’re always concerned about any individual agreement violates the collective bargaining agreement as a whole. That’s where we end up engaging in conversations where we may not otherwise, when it has the potential to affect a much larger group.”

LaRoche posted a statement to his Twitter account on Friday saying that after he signed his two-year, $25 million deal with the White Sox before the 2015 season, “we reached an agreement” that would allow his son to spend time with the team.

LaRoche said while he hit just .207 with 12 homers last season, there was never a problem with his son being around the team.

But LaRoche said White Sox executive Kenny Williams recently told him to scale back the time his son spent in the clubhouse, and later “I was told told not to bring him to the ballpark at all.”

LaRoche instead chose to retire, walking away from $13 million owed this season.

White Sox ace Chris Sale and other teammates have come to LaRoche’s defense. Sale has hung Drake’s uniform outside his locker at spring training. Sale later accused Williams of lying to the team about the reasons for the move.

Clark acknowledged “there are strong opinions” about the situation, but said the union needed to gather more information.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.