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LaRoches thankful for time spent together

LaRoches thankful for time spent together

PITTSBURGH -- As the Pirates were preparing to step onto a flight to Phoenix following Wednesday's 8-7 win over the Brewers, Adam LaRoche made his rounds to shake hands, give hugs and wish his now former teammates well.

But there was one goodbye that, as expected, was more difficult than the rest.

"The hardest part is leaving him," LaRoche said, motioning to his little brother, Andy, whose clubhouse stall has been adjacent to his for the past year. "That's the toughest. That's the toughest part of it to swallow."

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It was nearly one year ago that Andy arrived in Pittsburgh as one of the four players acquired when the Pirates dealt Jason Bay to the Red Sox. He and his brother had grown up dreaming about the chance to one day play across the diamond from each other, and for the past year, they did.

Never before had the two taken the field together -- not in professional baseball, obviously, and not even back in the days of Little League because of their four-year difference in age.

"I was hoping for one game together, so to be able to get a year together has been a huge blessing," Adam said. "Just taking his throws across the infield, him diving and making a great play and then getting a throw from him -- it's stuff we'll never forget."

With Adam's contract up at the end of the season, the brothers knew quite well that their days as teammates were likely numbered. Not that such anticipation made Wednesday's news any easier to handle, though. As Andy spoke about the memories of playing with his brother, tears formed in his eyes.

"It was incredible to play with your brother," Andy said. "It's been great to have him as a mentor, having him there to kind of guide the way. I never took anything for granted. Every day we played like it could be our last day together. I guess yesterday happened to be that day. It was a great ride. It was so much fun."

When asked what his best memory was with Adam as a teammate, Andy pointed back to Aug. 14, 2008, the first day that the two took the field together. Adam had been on the disabled list at the time Andy was traded.

"It was just incredible to be able to throw the ball across the diamond to your brother," Andy said. "It was a dream come true."

The two also became the first pair of brothers to homer for the Pirates in the same game since the Waner brothers accomplished the feat in 1938.

Now it's up to Andy to keep watch over Adam's home in Pittsburgh, which is where he has been staying all season. And, as Andy mentioned, he expects to be watching his older brother in the hunt for a World Series ring come October, not that any of that could make the separation any easier in the meantime.

"I enjoyed every second of playing with him," Adam said, "and I wouldn't have traded that for anything."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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