Paul Konerko: Avisail Garcia is a monster with 40-homer capability
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter February 22, 2014 9:24PM
Updated: March 24, 2014 6:49AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Right fielder Avisail Garcia didn’t let an ingrown toenail keep him off the field Saturday.
“I came here to work,’’ he said.
Manager Robin Ventura had said Friday that Garcia probably would rest a day after having it removed, but Garcia hit and threw even though he only ran lightly.
‘‘I want to get ready,’’ Garcia said.
Expectations for Garcia, who can hit, hit with power, run and throw well, are high. Captain Paul Konerko described the 6-4, 240-pound Garcia, who hit .304 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 42 games with the White Sox, as “a monster” who looks capable of hitting 40 homers.
“I want to be consistent and get better,’’ said Garcia, 22, who will be more comfortable now that he’s acclimated to U.S. Cellular Field and his surroundings after coming from Detroit in the Jake Peavy trade. “Put up better numbers and help my teammates.’’
Have a plan
New hitting coach Todd Steverson has a big job, overseeing a needed resuscitation of an offense that ranked last in the American League in runs.
“I don’t think it was a bad hitting team,’’ Steverson said. “They had a bad year, and it swirled on them. A lot of the same arsenal was there the year before, and they did OK then [fourth in runs]. They got out of sorts. They need to have a focus and a plan, or big-league pitchers will get you out.’’
Right-hander Mitchell Boggs, a late pickup before spring training, has tinkered with a knuckle-curve since January and has shown it to Konerko, Adam Dunn and Jose Abreu during live batting practice.
“I think it has a chance to be a good pitch,’’ said Boggs, a fastball-slider-changeup pitcher.
Boggs, 30, is looking to recover from a rough 2013 season with the Cardinals and Rockies after a solid three-year run in St. Louis.
This and that
Ventura said likely leadoff man Adam Eaton will have a green light to steal. It will be a test.
“We’ll find that out down here; you can give a guy a little freedom to run and see what he’s got,’’ Ventura said.
† Marcus Semien, who played mostly third base when called up last year, has been working at shortstop. His versatility could help him win a job.
“He’s going to play a lot of positions as we go through spring, filling in and seeing how comfortable he is moving around,’’ Ventura said.
“Those guys who can fill in when needed and you don’t lose a step are special.’’
† Frank Thomas is nearing a deal to be a baseball analyst for Fox Sports 1.