Quantcast

Baseball / Sports

Avisail Garcia ready for next step with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Avisail Garcia got one foot in the door to success with the White Sox near the end of last season. He wasn't about to let his sore other foot slow him down as he continues that quest this spring at Camelback Ranch.

The Sox right fielder said he "came here to work" and so he practiced Saturday and Sunday despite pain from an ingrown toenail. He was nearly back to normal Sunday as he prepared for his first full season with a Sox team he grew comfortable with for two months in 2013.

"I know the guys. I know the country. I know the stadium, the fans," Garcia said. "It's been great ... a great opportunity for me to be here and have the chance to play every day."

Garcia fit in so well with the Sox after he was acquired from the Tigers in the three-team Jake Peavy trade in July that's it's easy to forget he's a relative newcomer to the team.

There is a lot of focus on the potential of new Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu, but Sox manager Robin Ventura also touted the possibilities Garcia brings. In 42 games with the Sox, he hit .304 with a .775 OPS, five home runs and 21 RBIs.

"A full year from Avi Garcia will be interesting because he can go any direction," Sox captain Paul Konerko said. "I know he's going to do well, I just want to see where that's going to go because he can (hit for) average and power. He can go out and hit .260 with 40 home runs. He really has the potential to be a monster in this league."

New White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson first received a good look at Garcia during the 2012 playoffs when Steverson coached in the A's system and Garcia was a rookie with the Tigers.

He heard many compliments about Garcia and is matching them to what he sees in his first spring training with the Sox.

"Being able to work with him, I can understand where they're coming from," Steverson said. "It's obvious he's still young and needs to shape his game into what he's going to be, but that's every player who has played in the big leagues.

"I hate to use the word potential because it's a very dangerous word, but if he does live up to what he has on that level, we've got something special."

Steverson wants to see Garcia against more live pitching, but from the video he has studied thus far, he put together a quick list of goals.

"Putting him in the best position possible to use his athleticism is one of the big keys," Steverson said. "Learning how to sync with the pitcher, get good timing and be able to handle both sides of the plate."

While Garcia focuses on spring training, he has worries in the back of his mind regarding the political unrest in his native Venezuela. His wife and daughter, who was born near the end of last season, are in the United States, but he has family members, including his parents, in Venezuela.

"They're far away from that (violence), but I worry about my country," Garcia said. "Because a lot of people die, so that's not good. Let's see what happens. Hopefully everything gets better."

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus