Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Avi ready to build on breakout 2017 season

Special to MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Avisail Garcia won his arbitration case on Valentine's Day, he walked away with nearly a million dollars more than the White Sox offered him, earning $6.7 million for 2018 instead of $5.85. But on Monday's first full-squad workout day, Garcia indicated the money is already out of his mind.

His salary may have changed, but the approach that Garcia brought to his breakout 2017 season with career highs in batting (.330), on-base percentage (.380), slugging (.506), home runs (18), RBIs (80), hits (171) and doubles (27) remains unchanged.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Avisail Garcia won his arbitration case on Valentine's Day, he walked away with nearly a million dollars more than the White Sox offered him, earning $6.7 million for 2018 instead of $5.85. But on Monday's first full-squad workout day, Garcia indicated the money is already out of his mind.

His salary may have changed, but the approach that Garcia brought to his breakout 2017 season with career highs in batting (.330), on-base percentage (.380), slugging (.506), home runs (18), RBIs (80), hits (171) and doubles (27) remains unchanged.

"I'm just trying to get better, trying to improve," Garcia said of his early spring focus. "Nothing changes. I've been doing my stuff, and my workouts, doing my routines. Nothing changed. Hopefully I can stay healthy and try to do my best for my team and try to win."

Video: Avisail Garcia is the No. 7 right fielder right now

Manager Rick Renteria called 2017 the kind of season everyone hoped Garcia would pull off at some point in his career. He also noted that Garcia's ability to endure the lulls in his season to finish strong bodes well for seeing more of the same.

"He's coming to camp full of confidence," Renteria said. "When you have a pretty significant breakout year for him, he should go out there and not try to do too much, just stay within himself and let the numbers kind of take care of themselves.

"If you trust the work that you're putting in and you have confidence in your ability, you have the opportunity to repeat good output and a positive result in terms of what we can expect during the course of the season."

Garcia has been working in camp since his arbitration hearing last week, turning the page and getting to work on refining his craft immediately after the hearing was completed.

"I preferred to stay here and train, because we have to report today and we play in five days, so I have to be ready," Garcia said. "Nobody wants to go to arbitration, but it's part of the business."

The right fielder is excited about the White Sox chances and likes what he sees from the perspective of a six-year veteran who played a season and a half with the Tigers before coming to Chicago in 2013.

"Everybody's 22, 21, 20 [years old]," Garcia said of his teammates. "I'm 26, but I feel old. We have a lot of talent, and a lot of young guys now. We'll see what we can do, and hopefully everybody stays healthy."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

A first-time All-Star in 2017, Garcia is determined to provide leadership on the club, and he's embracing the opportunity.

"It's important for me to try and help the young guys and try to make them feel comfortable," Garcia said. "That's a good part of it. We are a family, you know? We're trying to compete and get better every year."

Garcia got that kind of guidance and support from first-year White Sox manager Rick Renteria in 2017, calling his impact "big" in helping Garcia put the whole package together.

Video: Renteria credits consistency to Avi's strong 2017

"He supports you with everything he has," Garcia said. "He supports you, he's always got your back, and that's important to us. When the manager supports you that gives you confidence. That's the most important [thing]."

Coming to camp seven pounds lighter than he arrived in 2017, Garcia credits his regular routine with early morning workouts and his fish diet for improving his conditioning and helping his overall performance on the field, including his agility and speed.

When told that first baseman Jose Abreu wants to be a base-stealing threat, Garcia, who has 20 steals under his belt -- five in 2017 -- boosted his teammate. Abreu has six career steals, three of them coming last year.

"He can do it," Garcia said. "I can do it, too. Let's see what we can do."

Ultimately, it's what "we" can do that is commanding Garcia's focus. He's got general goals to improve his game, build his power and maintain his consistency. But despite coming in second in the race for the American League batting title to Houston's Jose Altuve, Garcia doesn't dwell on his individual numbers or achievements.

"The personal numbers are going to go by themselves," Garcia said. "You try to win and play hard every single day."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.

Chicago White Sox, Avisail Garcia