Lakeland, Fla. – Adam LaRoche’s tense squabble with the White Sox, spawned by a club’s sudden discomfort with LaRoche’s son, is a problem foreign to the Tigers and Victor Martinez.
LaRoche announced earlier this week he would forgo his $13-million contract for 2016 after club executives complained his 14-year-old son, Drake, was showing up too frequently in the White Sox clubhouse.
The Tigers have had no such irritation with Martinez and his 11-year-old son, Victor Jose, who for years has been a semi-regular partner in the clubhouse at home and away games. Victor often is seen throwing batting pre-game practice to his son on the outfield turf.
“They’ve been great,” Martinez said Thursday, speaking of the Tigers as he and his teammates got ready to play the Mets at Marchant Stadium. “I haven’t had any problems.
“I try to do my best and not get in anybody’s way. But it’s part of life. You’re never gonna please everybody.”
LaRoche’s son is a steady companion to his father and is home-schooled, as is Victor Jose.
The White Sox’s fatigue with Drake’s presence has been viewed as suspicious, given LaRoche’s dismal 2015 season, when a supposed power-hitting first baseman batted .207, with only 12 home runs and a .634 OPS.
Martinez, of course, is, when healthy, one of the game’s best hitters, as well as a Tigers clubhouse statesman.
The Tigers have been accommodating when it comes to sons and fathers. And not only with respect to players. Dave Dombrowski, the team’s former front-office general, allowed his son, Landon, open clubhouse access. He and Victor Jose were friends and wore Tigers uniforms, as does Victor Jose when he is with his dad, which is semi-regularly.
White Sox president Ken Williams argued that in no other business arena are parents allowed to regularly bring their kids to work. The standoff between him and LaRoche, which has led to an uncomfortable public squabble made more messy by family blood, is still being sorted out. But, for now, LaRoche, 36, is distancing himself from the White Sox and the 2016 season.
“They say you can’t take your kid every day to work,” Martinez said Thursday, indirectly quoting Williams. “I don’t care what people think. I know every kid’s different. Some can be tough. But if the kid is behaving, I don’t see why it’s a problem.
“For me, I’m talking for myself. But I lost my dad when I was 6 or 7. I don’t have many memories of him. Now, if you have a daughter, obviously, you can’t bring her into the clubhouse. But anyone who has a son would like to bring him here anytime.”
Tigers general manager Al Avila preferred not to comment on the situation, out of deference to the White Sox and to their internal business.
The Tigers, meanwhile, prepared Thursday for a St. Patrick’s Day assignment against the Mets.
There was only one injury update available: bullpen candidate Angel Nesbitt will miss the next few weeks with an ankle sprain that happened during a Wednesday workout.