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Garcia not ready to start diving for balls

Outfielder one year removed from avulsion fracture and labrum tear in left shoulder

CHICAGO -- There's a specific time in the mind of Avisail Garcia where the White Sox right fielder will once again dive for a fly ball.

"Maybe if we play in the World Series and I have to dive, I'm going to dive," said Garcia with a broad smile. "But not right now."

The head-first dive was removed from Garcia's defensive arsenal after he suffered an avulsion fracture and labrum tear in his left shoulder almost a year ago to the date (on April 9 in Colorado) in trying to grab a D.J. LeMahieu line drive to right. He put in tireless work to get back to the field on August 16 of last season, despite the original prognosis having Garcia out for the year following surgery.

Now Garcia is relying in part on the help of first-base coach Daryl Boston, who also works with the outfielders, in having him in position to make the plays.

"D-Bo helps me a lot," Garcia said. "He put me in the right position to make sure that I don't dive for a ball. We have to make sure who is hitting, where he likes to hit the ball."

"We are trying to keep him on the field. He helps us by being out there 162 games if possible," Boston said. "We get scouting reports so we try to put him in the best position possible. Last year when he came back, we worked on trying to catch the ball sliding as opposed to diving. He's a big man and when he hits the ground, he's going to hit it hard. So, we try to keep him upright."

Boston pointed out that when Garcia was diving, he was kind of up in the air and landing shoulder first instead of laying out. So it's better off to continue without the dive for Garcia, a talented young player improving all areas of his game including his glove work.

"He's made a lot of improvement from last year," said Boston of Garcia's outfield play. "We talked about him getting better off the bat and reading balls of the bat and his first two steps being better. He's much better this year."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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