Union ‘monitoring’ LaRoche case, no decision on grievance

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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.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”