The Pirates, a week into LaRoche’s first full (maybe) season with the club, are benching him. Maybe he’s just not right, physically. That would be my guess, because I think the player who can thrive in Triple-A but can’t emotionally cope with the majors is exceptionally rare (if he exists at all).
One thing I’m fairly sure of, though: If there’s really something wrong with Andy LaRoche, benching him for a game or three isn’t going to fix it. I suspect he might need a whole lot of time and maybe a whole team of specialists.
I wonder if there’s a psychiatric component to this. His brother Adam was diagnosed with fairly severe ADD when he was with the Braves. And from everything I read and saw, it was a legit diagnosis as opposed to the phantom ADD that ballplayers are said to be faking in order to take otherwise banned drugs. Dude was forgetting to cover the bag, losing track of what out it was, etc. They still haven’t cured his first-half/second-half streakiness, but those highly disruptive problems seemed to vanish from his game once he got on the meds.
Maybe Andy is suffering from ADD or some allied condition. Maybe it’s something else and he’s a latter-day Jim Eisenreich or something. Either way, I agree with Rob: there aren’t many players with LaRoche’s track record that just utterly fail the moment they make it to the big leagues, so it may be that something other than mere suckitude is at play.