Swap unites brothers in Pittsburgh
First baseman LaRoche welcomes younger sibling to Bucs
CHICAGO -- Andy LaRoche was dealing with yet another demotion. Los Angeles had just acquired third baseman Casey Blake from the Indians, leaving LaRoche wondering when his chance to be an everyday third baseman would come.
With the Triple-A Las Vegas club in Oklahoma City on Thursday, LaRoche was summoned into manager Lorenzo Bundy's office. Well aware of Thursday's non-waivers Trade Deadline, LaRoche hoped he knew what was coming next.
"'What team am I going to?'" LaRoche recalled asking, staying optimistic.
"[Bundy responded], 'If you were going to be traded, which one team would you want it to be?'" LaRoche said.
LaRoche told Bundy he'd like to play in Pittsburgh.
"[He said], 'You got your wish,'" LaRoche said.
And with that, a dream that Andy and older brother Adam LaRoche shared as boys playing Little League in Kansas became a reality. They will be Major League teammates.
"I don't know what to say," said a still-beaming Adam on Friday morning. "We've talked about this for years, getting a chance to do this. I never thought it would actually happen. So many things in the big leagues have to line up to be on the same team as your brother. This is great."
With a four-year age gap between them, the LaRoche brothers have never played on the same team together.
It will still be a while before they take the field together, however. Adam, who is dealing with a right intercostals strain, will remain on the disabled list at least through the entirety of the Pirates' current 10-game road trip.
But with the younger LaRoche earning the everyday third-base job and Adam expecting to be back in mid-August, it won't be long before the two suit up together for the first time. The last pair of brothers to play together with Pittsburgh were Eddie and Johnny O'Brien in 1958.
"There were a lot of teams I could have gone to where I'd be happy, but this is the one team I wanted," Andy said. "Playing with my brother has always been a dream of mine."
This won't be the first time that both play on the same field, however. A visit to PNC Park by the Dodgers last season pitted the brothers against each other for the first time in their careers. It was a series that Adam called "the coolest thing I've ever done."
Though neither wants his first name put on his jersey, differentiating between them shouldn't be an issue.
"Mine might be in lowercase letters, and his in uppercase," Andy quipped.
Of course, it wasn't. And by the way, Andy has been given No. 15. Adam wears No. 25.
The distinction between the players can be made elsewhere.
"He's just the opposite of me," the Pirates first baseman said of his younger brother. "He's a fiery guy. He reminds me of [catcher Ryan] Doumit -- just kind of a [gamer]. He gets pretty excited, pretty emotional about stuff. He's fast, I'm slow. He's right-handed. I'm left-handed. We're just opposites."
For the immediate time being, the younger LaRoche plans to move into his older brother's home in Pittsburgh, where Adam joked there will be plenty of babysitting opportunities.
"I love those kids to death," Andy said of Adam's kids, six-year-old Drake and five-year-old Montana. "It's going to be good being around the family all the time and being able to see them all the time."
Their father, Dave LaRoche, the pitching coach for Toronto's Double-A affiliate, will have just one game to tune into. Their mother can buy one plane ticket and see both sons on the same day. In other words, this is a situation that had the whole family gleaming Thursday evening.
"You can imagine," Adam said. "This is like a dream come true. It couldn't work out any better."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.