LaRoche’s back quickly im­proves

Chicago Sun-Times - - SOX BEAT - BY DARYL VANSCHOUWEN Staff Reporter Fol­low me on Twit­ter @ CST_ sox­van. Email: dvan­schouwen@sun­times.com

GLEN­DALE, Ariz.— Des­ig­nated hit­ter Adam LaRoche, who left the White Sox’ game Satur­day against the Roy­als with a back spasm, re­ceived more treat­ment Sun­day but didn’t need an MRI exam, the team said.

LaRoche, 36, who is look­ing to bounce back from a dis­ap­point­ing first sea­son with the Sox in which he bat­ted .207 with 12 homers and 44 RBI, made sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment and has no nerve dam­age. He’s day- to- day.

The Sox are count­ing on LaRoche to re­bound from last sea­son, his first as a DH, and pro­vide a left­handed pres­ence in the middle of the lineup. He’s in the se­cond year of a two- year, $ 25 mil­lion deal.

LaRoche home­red in­side the right- field foul pole in his first game against In­di­ans left- han­der Ross Detwiler on Fri­day. Af­ter the game, man­ager Robin Ven­tura talked up LaRoche’s swing and fit­ness.

Ven­tura called the med­i­cal re­ports en­cour­ag­ing.

“He says he feels bet­ter to­day,” Ven­tura said. “But who knows how long this is go­ing to be? It has to do with the back, so we don’t ex­pect him to be in there to­mor­row, ei­ther. Hope­fully the day af­ter we can get some­thing out of him. But right now we’re just go­ing to see how he feels.”

‘ Emo­tional’ times for Alexei

Padres short­stop Alexei Ramirez had spent his en­tire ca­reer with the White Sox, who didn’t pick up his $ 10 mil­lion op­tion this off­sea­son. Ramirez said he asked to play in the game against the Sox on Sun­day in Glen­dale, where he re­ceived a nice round of ap­plause.

“Ev­ery time I came up to the plate I could hear them,” Ramirez said through a trans­la­tor. “It was emo­tional. I have to say thanks to the Chicago White Sox for that.

Ramirez, who re­ceived a $ 4 mil­lion guar­an­tee from the Padres, said he didn’t have other of­fers. He had hoped to fin­ish his ca­reer with the Sox.

“It hurt be­cause I spent so much time in Chicago and formed some­what of a fam­ily,” Ramirez said. “At the same time, that’s base­ball.”

It was some­what ironic that Ramirez, in his first at- bat, was re­tired on a ground ball by 37- yearold Jimmy Rollins, whowas signed to a $ 2 mil­lion deal to as­sume at least a share of the short­stop du­ties. Rollins ranged be­hind se­cond and made a nice play.

Ramirez bat­ted third and sin­gled and walked in three plate ap­pear­ances.

Sox power

Jose Abreu and Todd Fra­zier hit their first homers, back- to­back, giv­ing the Sox seven homers in four games.

“We want to see that more of­ten,” said Fra­zier, who fol­lowed Abreu with an even deeper blast. “If we can mimic each other, it’s go­ing to be a heck of a year.”

| ROSS D. FRANKLIN/ AP

Des­ig­nated hit­ter Adam LaRoche’s back in­jury didn’t re­quire an MRI exam, and he didn’t suf­fer nerve dam­age.

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