He was originally signed out of Cuba by the Cardinals. Just over four years later, he was in the American League, slugging homer after homer as the hottest rookie in baseball. And the ballpark in which he made a name for himself was the newest in baseball, Globe Life Field.
No, we’re not referring to Randy Arozarena in the postseason last October, although all of the above applies to him as well.
We’re referring to Adolis García, who continued his tremendous hot streak at the plate by launching two home runs in the Rangers’ 8-4 win over the Astros at Globe Life Field on Saturday. García smashed a solo homer to left field in the fifth inning and another solo shot that tied the game in seventh.
The two García homers came on the heels of a walk-off three-run homer García hit to beat Houston in the first game of the series Friday night, and gave him a share of the AL lead with 14 home runs on the season. In his last eight games in Arlington, García has homered six times.
García has become a sensation, much like Arozarena in the Rays’ postseason run last year. The two are close, having grown up together in Cuba and even rooming together in the Minor Leagues while with the Cardinals’ organization. Upon being called up from the Rangers’ alternate training site on April 13, García said he wanted to follow in Arozarena’s footsteps.
“I want to, hopefully, be able to do the things that [Arozarena] is doing here in the big leagues and to be able to prove that I can be the same player that he is, as well,” García said then.
Fast forward to Saturday -- as far as the incredible month Arozarena had last October, García has done just that, vaulting himself as an early frontrunner in the AL Rookie of the Year race, a race for which Arozarena was the preseason favorite.
“I feel good about what’s going on right now,” García said through an interpreter. “Randy and I talk all the time. I saw what he did in the playoffs, and I enjoyed seeing that. We’re both happy for each other for what’s happening right now.”
What’s happening right now is not only a (very) hot start, but it’s one that is different from the other remarkable starts Rangers manager Chris Woodward has seen in the past. A case-in-point is Yasiel Puig, who ignited the Dodgers -- with whom Woodward was a third-base coach before being hired as Texas’ manager -- back in 2013, but couldn’t sustain that type of success in his career.
“I don’t want to say anything bad about Yasiel because I know him, and I love him dearly, but I think [García] is a consistent version of Puig,” Woodward said. “I think Puig hit the ground running and the numbers speak for themselves in his first couple years, but I feel like where Adolis is at, I feel like he could be a little more consistent. … Where Adolis is at right now, it’s just consistency at its finest.”
García’s seventh-inning homer sparked a pivotal five-run frame for the Rangers, who got a clutch two-run double from Jose Trevino and scored two more thanks to a throwing error by Astros third baseman Alex Bregman.
Trevino was stoked after the huge hit, but when he looked back toward his dugout, García had an even bigger reaction. That’s what the rookie has brought this Rangers club beyond the numbers in the box score -- contagious, confident energy.
“When [a teammate] gets a hit, it feels like I got the hit,” García said.
As far as Trevino is concerned, the last two days -- and really, the last five weeks -- have rightfully belonged to García, and a rising tide lifts all boats.
“If your name is Adolis García, it seems like every night is your night,” Trevino said. “Every time he walks to the plate right now, I’m sure a lot of people are paying attention.”
That includes the sell-out crowd of 38,055 fans whose energy shared the same wavelength as García’s.
It’s very likely that there was another person watching, perhaps in the clubhouse prior to his own club’s game against the Blue Jays in Florida, who has been in García’s shoes before. And he might be hearing from García soon.
When García was asked whether he’d text Arozarena after his latest heroics at Globe Life Field, the answer came quickly.
“Maybe in a little bit,” he said.