GLENDALE, Ariz. — Avisail Garcia didn’t appear too comfortable into the batter’s box on Wednesday morning when White Sox pitchers took the mound.
Then again, few with a pulse would take kindly to the sight of Chris Sale and his flailing left arm on the mound, especially this early in spring camp.
The White Sox outfielder was one of several hitters to face Sale on the first day of live batting practice.
Position players aren’t scheduled to report and the White Sox don’t hold their first full-squad workout until Thursday. But that didn’t keep Garcia, Jose Abreu and Gordon Beckham, among others, from standing in the box, though they mostly just tracked pitches. Based on his own experience, White Sox manager Robin Ventura knows exactly how Garcia felt.
“There was a lot of take practice,” Ventura said. “I know it was supposed to be live. There were real good takes for everybody…It’s not fun. They go out there and do their best just to give the pitcher some looks of somebody standing in there. But I don’t think anybody is ready to start facing Chris before we even start (camp). It’s good to see it though. It’s good to go out there and see it. You don’t have to swing or do anything. Get your eyes used to it.”
Sale said he enjoyed the experience because it gives him an opportunity to get a feel for where he is in his program. The two-time All-Star said he has a better understanding based upon the reactions of hitters. Asked how he felt, Sale — who has one more live BP on Friday followed by two days off — said his arm felt good and loose.
But Garcia wasn’t the only person who felt uncomfortable. Sale joked that the sight of Garcia and Abreu standing in the box was a tad frightening and prompted him to ask for protection.
“I’m glad I don’t have to face them,” Sale said. “Abreu got in there, and I was like, ‘All right, someone else can pitch.’ I’ll make sure to keep that L screen in front of me. Those guys look good. Everyone looks like they’re coming in, gaining some weight, looking strong.”