PHOENIX -- After news broke Wednesday about the reasons behind Adam LaRoche's sudden decision to "step away" from baseball, White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams told the assembled media he was impressed by the way the team "banded together to try to protect this young man, and their teammate and everything. I told them, 'It's admirable and I love the bond that's been created.'"
Talking to the media prior to Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park, Williams explained that he simply wanted LaRoche to curtail the amount of time his 14-year-old son, Drake, spent in the clubhouse and on the field.
"It's tough," said Adam Eaton, a teammate with LaRoche last season, the first baseman's first with the team. "I'm on eggshells because Adam doesn't want to make it a big deal, and it's kind of tough for me to comment on it. But I don't think he was planning on retiring.
"On our side of things, I think everyone would say we enjoyed Drake LaRoche in the clubhouse and everything he brought to the clubhouse. He helped out around and wasn't a burden by any stretch of the imagination. He wasn't a big problem last year, either."
Williams did think it was a big deal. The club had a disappointing 76-86 record in 2015, finishing 19 games behind the World Series-winning Royals in the American League Central. He wanted to create a better clubhouse environment and asked LaRoche to "dial it back." Just have Drake come in less than the everyday routine to which they were accustomed.
"You have to respect a teammate for making a decision," said Austin Jackson, who signed as a free agent on March 6. "You can't judge him by hearsay or things like that. I think that a lot went on that not everybody knows the details of."
"That's between Adam, his family and the organization," said Carlos Rodon, who started for the White Sox on Wednesday and allowed seven hits and four runs over 3 1/3 innings. "One thing I do have to say is that he's a great teammate. I played with him for one year, but he's a great teammate, a great person and a great father. That's a guy you want in the clubhouse."
White Sox moves
Chicago reassigned five players as the organization prepares for its only off-day of the spring on Thursday. Catcher Kevan Smith was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte and right-hander Michael Ynoa was optioned to Double-A Birmingham. Outfielders Adam Engel and Courtney Hawkins were reassigned to Minor League camp, as was infielder Andy Parrino.
With the moves, the White Sox have 44 players remaining in Major League camp: 22 pitchers, three catchers, 11 infielders and eight outfielders.