CHICAGO -- Avisail Garcia is a 24-year-old full-time designated hitter who has hit eighth, seventh and eighth over his last three games after sitting for three straight.That combination of facts doesn't exactly suggest the highest level of confidence from the organization in a player pegged as a five-tool talent when
CHICAGO -- Avisail Garcia is a 24-year-old full-time designated hitter who has hit eighth, seventh and eighth over his last three games after sitting for three straight.
That combination of facts doesn't exactly suggest the highest level of confidence from the organization in a player pegged as a five-tool talent when acquired via trade in 2013. But the White Sox still have his back, although they continue to wait for Garcia's consistency in approach to shine through.
"Work is there. Talent is there," hitting coach Todd Steverson said of Garcia. "He wants to hit so bad that sometimes he gets on a go, go level and finds himself swinging at a pitch that probably isn't conducive to success right out of the gate. And the reflection afterwards is, 'Why did I do that?' And that's the answer. You have to ask yourself, 'Why did you do it?'"
Added manager Robin Ventura: "He's going to be out there playing. For him, he just continues to grind through it and get out there and play. Yeah, we are with him."
Garcia entered Wednesday afternoon's series finale hitting .176 with 11 strikeouts and one extra-base hit over his last nine games. He went 2-for-4 in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Indians. Adjusting to the new stance and approach Garcia began to employ in the offseason with Steverson, as well as adjusting to serving almost exclusively as the designated hitter, is a tough combination to pull off at the same time for a young player.
Steverson isn't looking for excuses where Garcia is concerned.
"Obviously, there's history of what you have allowed other teams to think you are or how they can pitch you," Steverson said. "So he sees a lot of first-pitch breaking balls. He'll see a lot of first pitches that aren't strikes. They are hoping to get him getting out of the zone again. You need to prove to them that you are making a change. Until you flip the script on them, I'm not sure they really have to deviate from that.
"He knows that, so the process needs to be there to really reverse that thought from any other team: 'He's laying off stuff now, so we have to pitch to him pretty tough because he's dangerous.'"
Ventura pointed to Adam Eaton's defensive excellence in right field as the main reason why Garcia has made three starts there. He has been taking fly balls in left and that position could be part of Garcia's rotation when he gets back to the field.
In fairness to Garcia, he had hit .320 over his last 75 at-bats with five doubles, one triple two homers, 10 RBIs and 12 runs to raise his average from .135 to .244. But Steverson wants to see that level of patience within the zone leading to success on a daily basis.
"If he does it, he'll be a beast," Steverson said. "It's one thing to say 'OK,' but it's another thing that when it actually comes together for you and you watch it happen, like, 'I took that marginal ball and made him come over the plate and hammered it.' For a hitter, a plan coming together is no better feeling."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.