And more than a decade before that, they grew up alongside each other in Cuba.
On Monday, both finished in the top four of the American League Rookie of the Year voting. Arozarena took home the award, with a .274/.356/.459 slash line, 32 doubles and 69 RBIs. But when asked about the honor, he made sure to mention García.
Arozarena told MLB Network after the award was announced that he felt like he was sharing the honor with García because of all they had been through together -- from Cuba to that 2017 Spring Training, to finally being big leaguers together, even if it’s in different dugouts.
"Adolis García, [Arozarena] is sharing this award with him and saying he was very important to him in his career,” said MLB Network’s Carlos Peña while interpreting for Arozarena on the broadcast. “[Arozarena] is saying, ‘Look, we'll split this 50-50. This is your award, too. Even though we play the same position, this is your award, too.’"
García finished in fourth place in the voting, notching three first-place votes. After a hot start to the season at the plate, García cooled down to finish with a .243/.286/.454 slash line, with 31 homers and 90 RBIs.
García also stood out defensively, serving as the replacement for Gold Glove Award winner Joey Gallo in right field after the slugger was traded to the Yankees in July.
Arozarena emphasized how he and García have made each other better throughout their careers. Performing on this stage is what they’ve always dreamed of.
“The friendship and support that we have for each other is just amazing,” Arozarena said via interpreter Manny Navarro. “We know this game is hard. We know there's a business. We know there's a way to grow in this game. Ever since we were together in the Minor Leagues, he helped me through that.
“He helped me kind of have a feel of how everything works, the routines of a day-to-day basis. He did come up a little bit before I did, so he was able to teach me some things. We're always there to support each other. Even during the season, I support him, he supports me.
"The fact that we were able to both be [candidates] for this award is also very special, and it's very special that I'm able to share it with him.”