Teammates of Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche were reportedly going to boycott Wednesday’s spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers in response to the front office telling LaRoche had to cut the amount of time his son spent in the team's clubhouse.
According to ESPN, White Sox players were prepared not to play before manager Robin Ventura stepped in to persuade them to take the field. Ventura reportedly told the team that management will work on the situation but they had to get out on the field because there was a game to be played.
The response came after White Sox President Kenny Williams asked LaRoche to “dial it back” with his 14-year-old son, which prompted an abrupt retirement announcement from LaRoche on Wednesday.
LaRoche said he planned to retire and walk away from a $13 million salary.
Williams said Drake LaRoche was a "quality young kid" and not a distraction. But he indicated he didn't want anything to deter the team's focus this season.
"Sometimes you have to make decisions in this world that are unpopular," Williams said before Chicago played Milwaukee. "I want to be very clear on something. It's not because the young man was a distraction, not because he wasn't well-received or well-liked by players management and everyone else."
The 36-year-old first baseman drew plenty of support from around the league and teammate Adam Eaton who offered his support to LaRoche talking to reporters Wednesday.
"On our side of things, I think everyone would say we enjoyed Drake LaRoche in the clubhouse and everything he brought to the clubhouse," Eaton said. "He helped out around and wasn't a burden by any stretch of the imagination. He wasn't a big problem last year, either."
"Adam and Drake are probably the most respected people in baseball I ever played with. Drake would clean cleats, he would help out in drills, pick up baseballs when we needed, he didn't say boo to anybody and was never a trouble in the clubhouse," he added.
LaRoche and the White Sox agreed to a two-year, $25 million deal last season. He only managed to hit .207 with 12 home runs last season.
He hasn’t spoken publicly on the situation.
The White Sox, out of the playoffs since 2008, made several moves in the offseason in hope of greatly improving their 76-86 record. No telling for sure whether LaRoche will be part of that effort.
"He seemed pretty convicted in his decision," Williams said, adding, "he didn't come back to talk to me about it before he made the decision. I thought there was enough flexibility built in."
Williams emphasized that he thought "it's great" to have kids around a team. "I just don't think it's great every day," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.