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Andy LaRoche

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Andrew Christian LaRoche

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Infielder Andy LaRoche is the son of Dave LaRoche and brother of Adam LaRoche. He made his major league debut in 2007.

Andy hit .326/?/.565 for the Wareham Gatemen in the 2003 Cape Cod League and was named the #3 prospect in the league by Baseball America between Wade Townsend and Jeremy Sowers. The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted him in the 39th round of the 2003 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Mike Leuzinger for a $1 million bonus. The Dodgers had to fight the commissioner's office's bonus recomendations. Rehabbing a broken leg, he got into six games for the Ogden Raptors, hitting .211/.238/.263 while not taking the field.

While LaRoche was drafted as a shortstop, he was moved to third base in 2004 to make room for Chin-Lung Hu, his Columbus Catfish teammate. Andy hit .283/.375/.525 with 52 runs in 65 games for Columbus and .233/.290/.429 for the Vero Beach Dodgers. Baseball America rated him as the #5 third base prospect in baseball (between Eric Duncan and Edwin Encarnacion), #9 in the South Atlantic League (bewteen Brandon McCarthy and Clint Everts), #16 in the Florida State League (right behind Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester) and #5 in the Dodgers organization.

In 2005, he hit .333/.380/.651 with 21 homers in 63 games with Vero Beach before being promoted to the Jacksonville Suns of the Southern League. With Jacksonville, he batted .273/.367/.445. Overall, he led Dodgers farmhands in total bases (263), homers (30) and RBI (94) and was named their Minor League Player of the Year. Baseball America ranked him as the best batting prospect and best power prospect in the FSL, the #7 prospect in the SL (between Joel Guzman and Félix Pie), #2 in the Dodgers chain and #1 in the FSL (ahead of Justin Verlander and Lastings Milledge). He made the FSL All-Star team as the third baseman. In the 2005 Futures Game, LaRoche started at third for the US team and went 2 for 2 before being replaced by Scott Moore. He had half of the USA's hits in a poor offensive show.

In 2006, he hit .309/.419/.483 in 230 AB with Jacksonville and .322/.400/.550 in 202 AB with the Las Vegas 51s. Baseball America named him the #5 prospect in the Pacific Coast League, behind Chad Billingsley and ahead of Matt Kemp, both teammates. The poublication also ranked him 5th among SL prospects, behind Kemp and ahead of Ryan Braun.

After returning to Las Vegas to begin the 2007 campaign and hitting .235/.309/.367 in 24 games, LaRoche was called up by the Los Angeles Dodgers and made his big league debut on May 6th to replace the injured Marlon Anderson. Hitting sixth in his debut, he flew out to RF Jeff Francoeur against Kyle Davies in the second inning. He finished the day 1 for 4 with a double and a run. LaRoche hit a disappointing .226/.365/.312 in 35 games for the 2007 Dodgers and Nomar Garciaparra saw most of the action at third base. Overall, LaRoche did hit .309/.399/.589 for Las Vegas in 73 games.

LaRoche was with Team USA that fall. He did well in the 2007 Baseball World Cup, helping the team win its first Baseball World Cup Gold Medal in over 30 years. He hit .333/.410/.697 with 3 homers and 10 RBI. He tied Justin Ruggiano, Chia-Hsian Hsieh, Mike Saunders and Yulieski Gourriel for the most homers in the tournament. He failed to make the Cup All-Star team as Mexico's Efren Espinoza was picked at third base and Italy's Max De Biase at DH. LaRoche hit a decisive 2-run homer in the first inning of a 3-1 win against South Korea, was involved in all the US offense in a surprisingly tough 4-2 win over the South African national team and was a big contributor in routs of Panama and Spain.

LaRoche appeared together with brother Adam for the first time on the same team on a baseball diamond on August 14, 2008. Andy went 1 for 3 with Pittsburgh's only RBI in a 3-1 loss. It had been 50 years since Eddie O'Brien and Johnny O'Brien had been the previous brother combination for the Bucs. There had been 6 other sets before the LaRoches - Harry Camnitz and Howie Camnitz, Johnny Morrison and Phil Morrison, Elmer Riddle and Johnny Riddle, Gene Freese and George Freese and Lloyd Waner and Paul Waner.

On June 17, 2009, Andy and Adam LaRoche both homered in a Pirates win. It was the first time since 1938 (when the Waners did so) that two brothers homered in the same contest for the Pirates.

Andy struggled mightily with the Pirates in 2010 hitting only .206 for the season and became a free agent at the end of the year. In January he signed with the Oakland A's.

Sources: 2004-2007 Baseball Almanacs, 2007 Dodgers Media Guide, IBAF site

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