Andrew Christian LaRoche (born September 13, 1983) is an American professional baseball third baseman who is currently a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays. LaRoche is the son of Dave LaRoche, a former Major League Baseball pitcher for the California Angels, and brother of former first baseman and designated hitter Adam LaRoche. LaRoche played shortstop for Grayson County College (he also played for the Keene Swamp Bats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League) and became the top position-player prospect in the Cape Cod League.
Nevertheless, he was drafted in the 39th round of the 2003 Major League Baseball draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but still got supplemental money when the Dodgers signed him in August 2003. At the time, his bonus was the highest for a “non draft and follow” outside the first three rounds. Concern about his range caused the Dodgers to move him from shortstop to third base prior to sending him to their rookie league team, the Ogden Raptors, for the last few games of the 2003 season.
He started the 2004 season with the Dodgers Single-A team in Columbus, hitting .283 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI before being promoted to the higher Single-A team in Vero Beach where he struggled a bit, hitting only .237 with 10 HRs and 34 RBI. In 2005, at Vero Beach, he hit .333 with 21 HRs and 51 RBI and received a call-up to the Double-A Jacksonville Suns. At Jacksonville, he hit .273 with 9 HRs and 43 RBI. He was voted the Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year.
For the 2006 minor league season, he started at Jacksonville and hit .309 with 9 HRs and 46 RBI. He would be called up to the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, where he hit .322 with 10 HRs and 35 RBI. During LaRoche’s second big league spring training in 2007, he noted that his last name should be spelled “La Roche” with a defined space. However, as reported by Steve Henson of the Los Angeles Times, he decided to revert to the previous spelling by the end of camp.
LaRoche made his major league debut on May 6, 2007, against the Atlanta Braves. He recorded his first major league hit, a ground rule double, against Kyle Davies. The following day, May 7, LaRoche recorded his first two RBI against the Florida Marlins. After being demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas, LaRoche was recalled on September 1. LaRoche received more playing time in September due to Nomar Garciaparra’s injury problems. On September 20, LaRoche hit his first major league home run off Colorado Rockies pitcher Matt Herges.