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Ventura values Leury Garcia’s versatility



The facts: 7:10 p.m., CSN, ­670-AM, 97.5-FM.

The starters: Jarred Cosart (1-1, 1.60 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (9-12, 3.08).

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Updated: August 28, 2013 10:23AM

Quick-footed infielder Leury Garcia, acquired Aug. 11 as the player to be named in the Alex Rios trade, made his first start for the White Sox at second base Tuesday against the Astros. Garcia was called up from Class AAA Charlotte last Thursday.

Manager Robin Ventura said Garcia’s versatility is one of his biggest strengths. Garcia played center field in the Sox’ 5-2 victory Sunday against the Rangers, and Ventura said he’ll likely start at shortstop Wednesday.

“It’s valuable to have a guy who’s that versatile to be able to move around the infield in case something happens,” Ventura said.

Garcia said he’s very comfortable with transitioning from the infield to the outfield.

“It’s the same,” Garcia said. “It’s like going from taking ground balls in practice to going to the outfield and taking fly balls.”

The 5-7, 160-pound Garcia, who was named the fastest baserunner in the Rangers organization by Baseball America after the 2011 and ’12 seasons, said he wants to use his speed to help the Sox.

“I play a little game,” Garcia said. “I bunt the ball, run, put the ball in play. . . . I want to make contact so I can use my ability to run.”

Homecoming games

As a kid, Astros hitting coach John Mallee grew up going to Sox and Cubs games. Mallee played baseball at Mount Carmel and was drafted by the Phillies after three years of college ball at UIC.

“I like coming back here because it’s nice coming back in the big leagues and having my family come and enjoy this,” said Mallee, whose family continues to call Chicago home. “It was great to drive to the ballpark and be coming from home for the first time.

“It’s even more special when you win in your hometown because all the people that are rooting against you that you grew up with are here.”

Boys of Fall

Six Sox prospects are scheduled to play for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League.

The Sox will send pitchers Chris Bassitt, Charlie Leesman, Stephen McCray and Kevin Vance and infielders Micah Johnson and Marcus Semien.


Twitter: @kalynkahler

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