(Sugar Land, Texas, March 11, 2016) - The Sugar Land Skeeters announced they have acquired infielder Andy LaRoche from the Wichita Wingnuts (AA) for a player to be named later.
LaRoche, 32, appeared in 26 games last season for Wichita after being acquired by the Wingnuts on August 11, 2015. He batted .269 with six home runs and 23 RBI. He was invited to spring training to start the 2015 campaign by the Chicago White Sox where he played with his older brother Adam.
The native of Fort Scott, Kansas played for a majority of the last two seasons (2013-14) with Buffalo in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system appearing in 164 games hitting .262 with 17 home runs and 80 RBI. His last major league game played was on June 9, 2013 for the Blue Jays vs the Texas Rangers. In all, he played 10 seasons in minor league baseball and had a career .281 batting average with 128 home runs and 481 RBI.
The right-handed hitter was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 39th round of the 2003 amateur draft. He made his major league debut on May 6, 2007 at the age of 23 and went 1-for-4 vs the Atlanta Braves. He spent a total of six seasons (2007-2011, 2013) in the majors and had a career .226 batting average with 22 home runs and 113 RBI for the Dodgers, Pirates, Blue Jays and the Oakland A’s. Baseball America named LaRoche one of the top 100 prospects each year from 2005-2008. During the 2008 season he was part of a three-team trade that sent him to the Pittsburgh Pirates and included Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and Jason Bay to the Red Sox. The trade to the Dodgers allowed Andy to play alongside his brother Adam for the remainder of the season and the 2009 campaign. It marked the eighth set of brothers to play as teammates for the Bucs and the first since Eddie and Johnny O'Brien in 1958.
In 2009 he put together his most productive career as the starting third baseman, hitting .258 with 12 home runs and 64 RBI. In his final two seasons in the Majors, he played in the American league for the first time with the Oakland A’s and Toronto Blue Jays (2011, 2013). He spent all but one game with the Bisons in 2013 as the primary first baseman and batted .271, highest batting average since 2008 (.297).
In 2009 he spent his first full season in the Majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates and made 142 starts, the most starts by a Pirates third baseman since Aramis Ramirez in 2001 (155). He ranked third in fielding percentage among N.L. third baseman behind San Diego's Kevin Kouzmanoff (.990) and Los Angeles' Casey Blake (.973). His third home run of the season came in the same game as his brother Adam on June 17 at Minnesota, marking the first time since September 9, 1938 that two brothers homered in the same game for the Pirates (Paul and Lloyd Waner).
LaRoche went to high school at Fort Scott (KS) and attended Grayson County Community College and was going to attend Rice University before signing with the Dodgers. His father Dave appeared in 647 games over 14 seasons (1970-83) in the Majors. He captured a gold medal while playing for Team USA in the IBAF World Cup in Taiwan following the 2007 season.
About the Sugar Land Skeeters
The Skeeters 2016 season begins Thursday, April 21 at Constellation Field. Season tickets, eight game ticket plans and flex books are on sale now at the Skeeters ticket office or online at SugarLandSkeeters.com.
Led by former Major Leaguer Gary Gaetti, the Skeeters play at Constellation Field, a state-of-the art stadium located at the intersection of State Highway 6 and U.S. Highway 90A in Sugar Land.
The Skeeters play 140 regular season games in the Atlantic League, which offers an open classification of play, the highest level of professional baseball other than Major League Baseball. Atlantic League players are highly experienced professionals that play to win. Over 800 players from the Atlantic League have signed contracts with big league organizations and over 100 players have been transferred to MLB.