By Bruce Levine–

GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — On Wednesday morning, the Chicago White Sox clubhouse was still in shock over the abrupt departure of first baseman/designated hitter Adam LaRoche from spring training and his plan to retire, which reportedly stemmed from the team asking him to bring his teenage son Drake around the clubhouse far less often.

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The locker that LaRoche once filled with personal items now stood empty except for a road uniform hanging alone on two hangers. The sudden news left teammates searching for ways to internalize the exit of a friend and fellow player who they respected. After LaRoche informed them of his plan Tuesday, teammates asked him to reconsider his decision.

If LaRoche doens’t return, an internal replacement might be a short-term solution for the DH hole left behind by his leaving. Third baseman Matt Davidson, who turns 25 in a few weeks, could be the player who gets a great opportunity to make the club. He’s coming off two poor seasons at Triple-A Charlotte since he was acquired from Arizona in a 2013 trade.

Once one of the top slugging prospects in the Diamondbacks’ system, Davidson has hit .199 and .203 the last two years, respectively. His failure to make consistent hard contact has taken a toll on him.

“It was a tough two years, I will tell you that,” Davidson said Wednesday. “I had lost all of my confidence that I ever had. I had dealt with a lot of stuff, and I found who I was. The negatives don’t bother me any longer. When you hit .200 for two straight years, it’s very humbling. I am thankful the White Sox have given me the opportunity to get me on the roster.”

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With four home runs in the Cactus League, Davidson has shown some early promise this spring. He’s hitting .455 in 11 games with a 1.524 OPS.

“Right now, we are all kind of bummed out that Adam was leaving,” Davidson said. “He is a great guy and great mentor. That is especially true for a young guy like me. With me, I am just focusing on my routine.”

When asked if a trade is more likely now than before the LaRoche decision — the White Sox are off the hook for $13 million if he retires — manager Robin Ventura tersely said no. However, Ventura does like the difference he’s seen in Davidson this spring.

“He is really opening everyone’s eyes,” Ventura said. “This is guy who is having a great spring. He looks different and feels different. When you talk to him, it is different. There is a lot of confidence there. It is good to see. If he continues doing it and playing this way, there will be some spots in there to keep going. From where he was at last year and the year before, it’s great to see, the progress that he has made.”

Still, with LaRoche’s salary ready to come off the books, a trade for an outfielder like Jay Bruce, Carlos Gonzalez or Andre Ethier is more realistic now for the White Sox.

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