CHICAGO- Chicago White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia has taken on a new challenge for 2016. At the end of spring training Garcia was named the team’s designated hitter for Opening Day. Since then Garcia has played five games in the DH role. And although his success has been limited, the 24-year-old has embraced the challenge.
“I’m just trying to do my job,” Garcia said, “I’m doing my best,” he added.
Garcia only has four hits on the young season, but one of those hits includes a monster three-run home run in Saturday’s win over the Cleveland Indians. He’s also scored two runs and has a .594 OPS. The White Sox are 4-2 heading into Sunday’s series finale with The Tribe. But regardless of the box score, Garcia is all business when he takes the field.
“I gotta do my job. Wherever they put me; right field, DH, first base, catcher, I gotta do my job,” said Garcia.
Garcia is trying to have some consistency in his major league career for a change. While playing for the Detroit Tigers in 2012 and part of 2013 before being traded to the White Sox, the Venezuelan-born outfielder bounced back and forth between AAA and the majors. When he arrived on Chicago’s South Side, he found himself fighting for playing time. After earning a roster spot in 2014, a career-changing shoulder injury cost him nearly five months of the season. And then there were his well-documented struggles of 2015.
Manager Robin Ventura however has faith that Garcia will come around. “He’s a strong kid. He’ll shorten up (his stance) and put the barrel on (the bat) and learn some leverage that goes to (hitting),” said Ventura after Saturday’s victory.
Garcia has come under scrutiny at times but he doesn’t let it get to him. And he definitely doesn’t want to focus on season’s past.
“Every year is different, a new opportunity”, Garcia said. He continued, “We’re not here to talk about the past. We’re in the present with a new opportunity, new guys, new everything. We just have to go out there and do our best.”
So far everything seems to be working in the White Sox favor. Especially the fact that everyone is healthy, and that’s something that Garcia doesn’t take foregranted.
“Hopefully we (can) stay (healthy). There’s a lot of games left so we’ll see what happens,” says Garcia regarding the teams health. But for now, this White Sox team has some potential.