By Bruce Levine–

CHICAGO (CBS) — In their quest to turn their season around, the White Sox have been in search of better play on the field and better leadership off of it.

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“Every good ball club needs a leader or leaders to help with the clubhouse every day,”  a former major league coach said on the present state of the White Sox. “If you have a leaderless team, your manager and his coaches will have a lot of trouble. I never saw a real good team without solid leadership from among the players.”

With this goal in mind, manager Robin Ventura may have found his man in DH-first baseman Adam LaRoche, the 36-year-old veteran who has begun to get into his hitting groove on the field. Combing good at-bats and clutch home runs, including a two-out, ninth-inning home run Friday to tie a game against Detroit that Chicago would eventually win, LaRoche appears to be moving into one of his famous hot streaks over the last couple of weeks.

When asked who has emerged as a possible leader in his clubhouse, Ventura didn’t hesitate.

“I believe LaRoche fits that category and a guy that has done it before,” he said. “We have guys step up and do things that embrace leadership situations. You have guys that fill that, and LaRoche the way he has been in his career and how he goes about his daily baseball life makes (the leader in) him.”

Somewhat quiet initially, LaRoche has plenty of depth to his baseball grittiness. Anointing the well-traveled first baseman as the man was natural for Ventura after watching him go about his business since February.

“He has been through a lot of different things,” Ventura said. “He has had ups and downs. His experiences lead him to be that guy. You also have to want to be that guy. He takes that responsibility seriously and does a good job at it.”

LaRoche saw great leaders along the way in his 12-year career that began in Atlanta during the 2004 season He pointed out that John Smoltz was a teammate that impressed him as the consummate pro and leader.

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“When I talked to you in spring training, I remember telling you that you don’t walk into a new clubhouse expecting to be the leader,” LaRoche said Saturday. “If it happened, that was great because I had been there before. It has to be something that other people see in you and respect about you to get that role as a leader.”

LaRoche isn’t afraid to talk to a teammate about any situation on or off the field any time.

“A leader has to be someone that people look up to, listen to, or want to come to with issues when things are going on,” he said. “The thing I have learned and seen is it’s tough to be any kind of leader if you say one thing and do another. It takes pretty consistent behavior with your teammates to earn that.

“I had a lot of great teammates coming up over the years, and the one constant was they had a knack for putting other people ahead of themselves. They did not view themselves above anyone else due to salary or personal accomplishments. That meant being great with other people, not just your teammates, being nice to the clubhouse kids or the security guys who are busting it for you every day. I always looked up to those guys because of that they were leaders in my eyes.”

With the exit of Paul Konerko, there was a huge void to fill in the Chicago’s leadership department. In the first year of a two-year contract, LaRoche has his rules for dealing with people one-on-one and keeping things private.

“The only thing I would not do is call a teammate out in the dugout, in a meeting in front of the team,” LaRoche said. “I have never had any respect for that kind of communication. I have never seen anything good come out of those in-your-face things. The one thing I have been known to do once in a while is pull a guy aside and carefully without coming down to hard, explain that I had been there before and kind of what I had learned from it. I may have a knack for getting down to a personal level with guys and talking through things.”

LaRoche pointed to players on the team that lead by example without having to say a word.

“We certainly have the players who lead that way,” he said. “Jose (Abreu) is one for sure. He doesn’t have to say a word. We all respect him and view him as a leader. It’s about the way he plays the game and carries himself. Certain guys have their talents in one area, other guys go about it differently.”

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Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.