KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Leury Garcia arrived in the clubhouse Thursday but the White Sox still don’t know what they have in the potential super-utility man.
While Garcia likely has the best speed of anyone at Triple-A or above in the organization, good range, a strong arm and an exciting glove, what he can do with the bat remains in question.
Garcia, 22, was acquired on Aug. 11 in a deal that sent Alex Rios to the Texas Rangers. A .261 hitter in the minors, Garcia was 8-for-30 with an RBI and three stolen bases in eight games at Charlotte.
His arrival now, however, doesn’t necessarily indicate permanence.
The White Sox currently have several banged up infielders that Garcia could spell.
But they also want him to work on his offense, in particular learning to keep the ball out of the air and on the ground to use his speed to his advantage.
As of now, nothing has been determined for 2014.
“It’s possible he’s on this club as a utility type, it’s possible he continues his development on the offensive side to become an everyday option down the road,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “Given his age, there is plenty of time left for him to grow in his everyday role. How he fits six months from now is still premature to say.”
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Garcia said through a translator he feels comfortable in the majors after a 25-game stint with Texas earlier this season. He had a .192/.236/.231 slash line in 57 plate appearances. Whereas he appears to have been blocked in Texas by shortstop Elvis Andrus and top prospect Jurickson Profar, Garcia said he sees a “new opportunity” with the White Sox.
Thus far he said the team hasn’t worked on any specifics with his from an offensive standpoint. He also said the trade didn’t surprise him.
“I’ve been working on every part of the game,” Garcia said. “I’m working on bunting, hitting and defense, nothing specific. … I took (the trade) really calm. I knew a little bit. They mentioned it to me there was a possibility of that happening and I just took it as a new opportunity.”
Garcia’s versatility may provide him an opportunity for playing time, manager Robin Ventura said. Jeff Keppinger is out of the lineup for a third straight game with a sore lower back --- though Ventura said he could play --- and Alexei Ramirez may have tweaked his back earlier this week.
“We’ve seen him a little bit in the past,” Ventura said. “We know he’s fast, he’s got good hands. It’s a good addition for us. We’re a little short infield-wise right now with some guys with nagging injuries. Let’s get him up and see what he can do.”
Hahn said the White Sox haven’t been thrown any curveballs in Garcia’s week-and-a-half at Charlotte. He has come just as advertised, which likely leaves room for offensive development.
“The reports we got out of Charlotte are more consistent with the scouting reports,” Hahn said. “Plus runner, plus defender, can play multiple positions. The question comes down to offensively, hopefully cut down the swing a little bit, make more contact. At age 22 it’s certainly stuff you can project even the tools will come. But that side of things, it’s still a little work in progress.”