Paul Konerko is impressed not only with the range Leury Garcia provides but also the accuracy of his arm.
The White Sox first baseman said Thursday he was surprised how good of a throw Garcia made on a pair of plays in Wednesday’s one-run loss to the Detroit Tigers, one of which saved a run on Torii Hunter’s slow chopper with two outs and runners on the corners in the seventh inning.
Scouting reports on Garcia, who came over from the Texas Rangers in the Alex Rios trade, noted the infielder had a strong arm and great range. But Konerko wasn’t aware until Garcia made the dazzling plays from second base on Wednesday.
[RELATED: No plans to alter six-man rotation]
“He covers a lot of ground and he’s got a real strong arm on top of it,” Konerko said. “Those were a couple of great plays. I don’t know what he feels more comfortable at, short, second, whatever, but he’s definitely a talented kid. … To be accurate on that throw is the tough part. It’s definitely a do-or-die type of play and he made it look pretty easy. He definitely was our best player on the field last night.”
But the questions about Garcia have never been whether or not he could field.
They have always centered around his swing. Garcia’s goal has been to keep the ball on the ground more often and to cut down on his swing.
He went 3-for-4 with two infield singles and he stole two bases on Wednesday. In his previous 24 at-bats with the White Sox, Garcia had three hits.
“He’s an exciting player all the way around,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Hitting wise it’s a bit of a work in progress for him, but you kind of understand that and get better at it. Defensively he fits into a lot of different spots. Second, short and third he can play. He can play center. So there’s really not where I look at it as though I have to see a whole lot of him defensively to see he can play a lot of different positions.”
Birmingham leads series
Double-A Birmingham grabbed a 1-0 lead in the Southern League championship series with an 8-3 win over Mobile on Wednesday night. Chris Bassitt earned the win with seven strikeouts over five scoreless innings pitched. The Barons beat Mobile’s Archie Bradley, who entered the season as the No. 2 prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system per Baseball America.
Cody Puckett went 3-for-6 with a homer and two RBIs and Micah Johnson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
“Last night’s win was a great momentum builder,” Birmingham manager Julio Vinas said on a conference call. “Our pitching was really good. We pounded the zone and made their guys swing it and used our defense behind to pull it off. We did really well against their best pitcher.”
Record for Quintana
Jose Quintana established an American League single-season record when he earned his 17th no decision on Wednesday night. Quintana, who lowered his ERA to 3.56 with seven shutout innings, leads the majors this season. He is three behind the all-time record of 20 set by then-National League pitcher Bert Blyleven (Pittsburgh, 1979), per the Elias Sports Bureau.