Chris Sale says White Sox were lied to, derailing team's momentum

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Friday, March 18, 2016

With twoAdam LaRoche jerseys hanging at his locker -- one signed by LaRoche's son, Drake -- Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale said Friday that he and his teammates were lied to by executive Kenny Williams.

The jersey signed by Drake LaRoche had the message: "Chris thank you for taking care of me."

Sale said Williams has told three different stories on why the decision was made to limit 14-year-old Drake LaRoche's access to the clubhouse, prompting his father to leave the team and a contract that would have paid him $13 million this season.

"Somebody walked out of those doors the other day and it was the wrong guy," Sale said.

Sale said Williams has contradicted himself, first saying that players complained about LaRoche's son being in the clubhouse, then saying it was coaches who spoke against it, and then saying the decision came down from ownership.

"We got bald-faced lied to by someone that we trust," Sale said.

"This isn't us rebelling against rules; this is us rebelling against B.S.," he added.

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf told ESPN that some players have asked to meet with him about the situation and he's deciding a course of action. White Sox outfielderAdam Eatontold reporters Friday that he has talked to the MajorLeague Baseball Players Association about potentially filing a grievance on LaRoche's behalf.

Later Friday, in a statement released to the media, Reinsdorf said the White Sox "continue to feel that it would be premature to comment at this time."

"This is an internal issue, and we are in the process of holding a number of discussions with players, staff and the front office. As a result, we do not want to comment until that process is completed," Reinsdorf said in the statement. "I have instructed members of the organization not to talk about this issue and get our focus back on the field and winning baseball games."

LaRoche abruptly retiredTuesday after he was told by Williams that he had to limit the time his 14-year-old son spent with the team.

White Soxplayers considered not playing in Wednesday's spring training game in support of LaRoche, sources told ESPN's Karl Ravech. The sources said that White Sox manager Robin Ventura intervened and persuaded the players, who were united in support of LaRoche, to play the game against theMilwaukee Brewers.

Sale said the White Sox players have confidence in Ventura and general manager Rick Hahn and that any message about changes in clubhouse policy should have been relayed to the players by Ventura and not Williams.

"While I disagree with Chris' assertions today, I certainly have always appreciated his passion," Williams said Friday.

Earlier Friday, Williams had no comment when asked about LaRoche.

"It's time to get back into the routine of things," he said.

Sale said the controversy has derailed the momentum the White Sox had been building in spring training. "There was absolutely no problem in here with anyone. [Williams] kind of created a problem," he said.

Sale said White Sox players are still "trying to find out what the truth is," and that the situation was "extremely frustrating."

"Especially when people tell you we're here to win a championship and then stuff like this happens," he said.

Sale said he and his teammates stand by Adam LaRoche "100 percent" and would gladly welcome the 36-year-old back to the team if he decided to return.

He said he respects "a man that stands by his word and isn't afraid to stand up for what he believes in."

Drake LaRoche "is honestly one of the best kids I've ever met," Sale said, adding that he was "wise beyond his years and mature beyond his years."

He called Drake LaRoche the "team mascot" and credited him for bringing energy to the clubhouse.

According to a source, Drake LaRoche's presence with the White Sox was agreed upon as a condition when his father signed with the team. The source said LaRoche would not have signed if there wasn't an agreement on that condition.

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