Rehabbing Avisail Garcia finds it hard to watch White Sox
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter June 10, 2014 9:54PM
- White Sox-Tigers game postponed because of rain Tuesday
- WATCH: Avisail Garcia thanks Danks for injury advice
- WATCH: Adam Dunn on series vs. Tigers
- WATCH: Adam Eaton on setting tone at top of White Sox order
- WATCH: Gillaspie on Tigers: 'Didn't know who was in first place'
Updated: July 12, 2014 6:40AM
When Avisail Garcia gets over it, he’ll stick around and start watching more games.
And that will be good for him, hitting coach Todd Steverson said. Good to observe, to pick up nuances and pitchers’ traits and to see the game from field level.
For now, though, the White Sox’ highly thought-of right fielder, whose season came to an unfortunate end when he landed on his left shoulder trying to make a diving catch in the ninth game of the season in Colorado, can’t bring himself to watch the games after he gets treatment for his season-ending injury.
“It’s good to see the guys, joking around with the guys,’’ he said in a meeting with reporters before the game against the Tigers was postponed because of rain. “I don’t stay for the game because I don’t like it, I don’t play.’’
Garcia isn’t watching the Sox on TV much, either.
“It’s too hard to watch because I want to play,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s why.’’
Garcia acknowledged that, as he sits out the rest of the season with a repaired labrum, he still can learn something every day by watching Jose Abreu and his old teammate and friend Miguel Cabrera.
Garcia, who turns 23 Thursday, is a key component of the Sox’ rebuild. Acquired for Jake Peavy at the trade deadline last year, the Sox envision the big, fast, powerful Venezuelan holding down right field and batting in the middle of the lineup alongside Abreu for years to come. Seeing this valuable year of development go to waste has been a tough one for management to digest.
“It is,’’ manager Robin Ventura said Tuesday. “You would love to have him have those at-bats. He’ll get them back, but it’s a big deal because this would have been his first year of being an every-day guy. Like Conor [Gillaspie last season], you go through the [first full] year of trying to establish yourself and withstand the yearlong battles you go through as a hitter. Avi can’t replicate it anywhere else except him standing in the box 500-600 times. There is no way to reproduce that.’’
Besides that, Garcia is the type of player who is fun to watch. All that power, size, speed and hustle is eye candy to a baseball lover.
“Believe me, I’m disappointed to not be able to see what he can do,’’ Ventura said. “Everything he brings to the table with speed and power and playing the outfield the way he does — he has an arm. And he would have had that experience at the same time with Jose [Abreu]. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to play with people who help you along. You see things. That would have been a positive for him.’’
Steverson said nothing can replace actual competition and at-bats, but there is plenty to be gained from being around the team at home and watching games, so he would encourage Garcia to keep his eyes open.
“You get yourself fixed, and you watch games and maybe determine a [hitting] plan,’’ Steverson said. “Watching is a good thing for that.’’
Steverson had worked quite a bit with Garcia on plate discipline as far back as spring training.
“He was never a big walk guy,’’ Steverson said. “We weren’t trying to get him to walk, but to take them when they’re presented to him. He gets deep in a lot of counts, gets a lot of 3-2 counts. That’s the turning point of getting your hits or sometimes you swing at a ball and could have had a walk.’’
“You’ve got to be strong and patient, patient, patient,’’ Garcia said.
He could have been talking about hitting, but he was talking about the rehab process.
With Garcia not expected to resume his career until next spring training, patience is the word for Sox management, too.