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Projected lineup: LaRoche cleaning up

CHICAGO -- With a few exceptions, Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura expects to use new left-handed hitting run producer Adam LaRoche as his cleanup hitter.

For now, the plan is to have the right-handed hitting Jose Abreu bat third, have the lefty swinging LaRoche in the No. 4 spot and the right-handed hitting Avisail Garcia batting fifth.

“Yeah, that’s how I see it,” Ventura said. “You’re able to split that up and it really balances out our lineup to have Conor (Gillaspie) in a more comfortable spot of just being a line-drive hitter just batting in the sixth hole.

“I would expect (LaRoche) to mostly be in the four-hole unless we somehow end up where Jose’s batting fourth and then (LaRoche) is probably fifth. As of right now, I have him batting right behind Jose in the four-hole.”

Gillaspie played 43 games last season in the No. 3 hole as Ventura tried to balance his lineup between right-handed and left-handed hitters. Gillaspie was even the surprise No. 3 hitter on Opening Day.

The upper two-thirds of the batting order seems to be set. Adam Eaton figures to be the leadoff hitter, followed by Alexei Ramirez, who has been in trade rumors but isn’t likely to be moved unless the White Sox get an impressive haul in return.

Abreu, LaRoche, Garcia and Gillaspie round out the top six spots. That would leave the left fielder -- whether it is Dayan Viciedo or somebody else -- aimed toward the seven-hole, with catcher Tyler Flowers the likely No. 8 hitter.

As of now, the lineup would appear to close with the second baseman. Candidates at second include Carlos Sanchez, Marcus Semien and the speedy Micah Johnson.