KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The White Sox aren’t just impressed by Avisail Garcia’s tools but also the way he uses them.
Nearly two weeks into his tenure with the team, the rookie outfielder has earned respect from veteran teammates and coaches for the way he handles himself in the clubhouse and on the field.
Garcia was advertised by the White Sox as a five-tool player when he was acquired from the Detroit Tigers are part of the three-way trade that sent Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox.
But now that they’ve had him for 12 days, the White Sox like that the youngster doesn’t just rely on those tools to get by. They expect his work ethic will help him develop into a dynamic hitter.
“He’s comfortable in his ability and how he goes about his business,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He plays hard. Not only the way he carries himself, but the way he goes about his work and doing things. He’s a kid that wants to get better. There are a lot of positive things he does that you see in a young guy. He’s a little more experienced and mature than most young guys.”
One area he has shown maturity far beyond his 22 years is in his set up at the plate. Garcia, who carried a seven-game hit streak into Wednesday and had hit safely in nine of 10 games, looks to hit the ball back up the middle and to right field first.
Of the 12 hits Garcia had entering Wednesday during his streak -- he was 12-for-28 overall with five RBIs -- six have gone to the right of second base.
“I think it’s just what he does best,” first baseman Paul Konerko said. “I don’t know if it’s a conscious decision, but it’s a good asset to have. ... It probably comes more naturally to him. As big and strong as he is, he’s going to be able to hit balls out to right and right-center. Definitely it’s better than being dead pull and having to work the field around from that way. He’s got a great beginning.”
White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto noted Garcia looks to right -- sometimes with his upper half only -- a little too often. Eventually, Manto hopes Garcia sticks with the same approach, but starts in the direction of left center.
[RELATED: White Sox not married to Garcia in center]
“He’s going to be even better once he learns that the ball’s going to go a little bit better when he’s set up to hit it to left-center,” Manto said.
The White Sox would love for Garcia to eventually tap into his tremendous power potential to all fields. During one of his first home batting practices, Garcia hit a ball off the facing of the Xfinity Fundamentals deck in left field. They’d love for him to develop into a player capable of hitting 30 home runs.
But all in good time.
[RELATED: Who the White Sox get in Avisail Garcia]
“I don’t think right now you’re going to take him and force him into doing any of that stuff,” Ventura said. “It has to be something that happens natural. The more he plays, the more experience he has, he’ll be able to do that naturally. … It’s easier to have a guy that goes the other way and he learns how to pull. He’s ahead of the game right now.”