ATLANTA -- As Braves third-base coach Bo Porter attempted to help Adonis Garcia get accustomed to playing left field by hitting him fly balls before a game at Citi Field earlier this month, Garcia made it known that he was not happy about the fact he was being asked to
ATLANTA -- As Braves third-base coach Bo Porter attempted to help Adonis Garcia get accustomed to playing left field by hitting him fly balls before a game at Citi Field earlier this month, Garcia made it known that he was not happy about the fact he was being asked to make a transition from third base. A few days later, he was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett and given the assignment to learn how to play left field.
Garcia returned to the Majors on Friday, when the Braves recalled him from Gwinnett and designated Reid Brignac for assignment. The 31-year-old Cuban slugger said he now understands that he must be willing to do whatever the team feels is in its best interest.
"I think I also had to work a little bit on my mental attitude, where in a sense I needed to just be willing to do whatever it is that is needed to help the team," Garcia said through an interpreter. "So, as soon as they talked to me and told me to go down to play left field, I grabbed it and ran with it and wanted to improve as quickly as possible. I wanted to work as hard as I could to make sure I made all the improvements I needed to, so I could play left field. Whatever they need from me is what I'm willing to do. "
Garcia will likely be primarily used as a right-handed pinch-hit option. His playing time in left field will be limited given that Jeff Francoeur will serve as the primary backup option on those days whenever Mallex Smith or Ender Inciarte do not play against select left-handed pitchers.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said there is a chance that Garcia will occasionally get some playing time at third base. But the club asked Garcia to begin transitioning to left field because of the defensive troubles he had while playing third.
Garcia's .878 fielding percentage at third ranks as the fourth-worst mark amongst all players who have recorded at least 120 chances at the position dating back to 1913.
"When he came down, he worked hard at [learning the left field position]," said Snitker, who was Gwinnett's manager when Garcia was demoted. "He took live balls off the bat and was very receptive. We even told him he might end up playing third base again, too. It's just wherever we can plug him in to get the bat in the lineup every now and then. He's all for whatever we need to do."
Garcia batted .356 with seven doubles, four home runs and a 1.029 OPS over the 80 plate appearances he recorded for Gwinnett this month. After knocking 10 home runs in just 191 at-bats with Atlanta in 2015, he has hit .260 with one homer and a .626 OPS at the big league level this year.
"I think I took [the demotion] in the best possible way," Garcia said. "I really took in what they asked of me and to take in the mentality to work on all those things they wanted me to improve on. As soon as I got down there, I knew it was time to go to work, and I really just wanted to focus on those things and be prepared for my next opportunity to come back up."
Brignac recorded six hits over 29 plate appearances for Atlanta in 2016. He was promoted from Gwinnett on May 2.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.