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updated: 2/28/2014 8:39 PM

Garcia features power, size, speed

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  • Acquired in July from the Tigers, Avisail Garcia plans to keep things simple: "I just try to hit to right, to center, to left. Just see the ball and hit."

      Acquired in July from the Tigers, Avisail Garcia plans to keep things simple: "I just try to hit to right, to center, to left. Just see the ball and hit."
    Associated Press

  • Avisail Garcia will patrol right field for the White Sox this season.

      Avisail Garcia will patrol right field for the White Sox this season.
    Associated Press

 
 

General manager Rick Hahn has talked, and talked, about the numerous changes he's made with the White Sox' roster.

Every time the subject is broached, Avisail Garcia's name comes up.

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"It became fairly clear well before the trade deadline (last July) that changes were going to have to be made and they were going to be fairly dramatic and go toward the essence of what we were trying to do over a longer period of time," Hahn said before the Sox reported to spring training. "Starting with the trade for Avi Garcia, that process began last July. We are certainly real pleased that given that running start, we were able to accomplish a lot over the last eight months or so.

"At the same time, we are not running away from the record (63-99) from last year. We earned that record and we have a number of areas we need to improve in."

Garcia was acquired from the Tigers in the three-way trade that sent White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy to the Red Sox.

Other young position players with promising upsides -- Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton and Matt Davidson -- eventually followed.

"Being here, I think it's a great opportunity for me," Garcia said. "I'm just going to work hard and do my best and get ready for this season."

The 22-year-old right fielder played in 42 games with the Sox after coming over from Detroit and he did not disappoint. Garcia had a .304/.327/.447 hitting line while adding 5 home runs and 21 RBI.

Given his impressive size (6-feet-4, 240 pounds), Garcia figures to hit for more power as he gains experience. For now, he's just looking to make contact.

"I just try to hit to right (field), to center, to left," Garcia said. "Just see the ball and hit. When you do that I think you're a good hitter."

Garcia has already shown he can make contact, and he did go deep in the Sox' intrasquad game earlier in the week. But he can also run well enough to play center field.

In Friday's Cactus League opener against the Dodgers, Garcia batted third. That spot is usually reserved for the best hitter on the team, and Garcia has a chance to nail down that distinction.

But with his ability to put the bat on the ball and run, Garcia might bat second.

"I think there's really an opportunity for him if we want to bat him second," White Sox manager Robin Ventura told reporters. "He has that kind of approach at the plate, he does have some speed that we can utilize there. When you look at it, you like what you see when you see him in there. It might happen."

The Sox were already buried with a 40-64 record when they landed Garcia on July 30, so the newcomer didn't have many thoughts on the franchise's worst showing since 1970.

With the addition of Abreu, Eaton and Davidson -- along with a better-than-average pitching staff -- Garcia is optimistic about the upcoming season.

"I can't wait for the season," he said. "It's exciting. We've got a lot of talent. I think everybody's going to play hard and I think everybody's going to play with heart. That's what good teams do. If everybody plays together, I think we're going to have a chance to win games."

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