CHICAGO | The White Sox got further confirmation they got the real goods in right fielder Avisail Garcia from the best hitter in baseball, who was an early mentor to Garcia.
“He works hard as a player,” defending Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera said of Garcia before the Tigers’ 6-4 victory over the Sox Wednesday. He also set a good example for Garcia live, slugging his 38th homer with two runners aboard off loser John Danks (2-10) in the third.
“He always listens to (coaches),” Cabrera said of the kid who played in a limited role on the Tigers before his July 30 trade to the Sox. “He’s got a good opportunity. You get to see it when he hits a ground ball. He runs hard to first base and he’ll get a lot of infield hits, hustle hits.”
While in Detroit, Garcia picked up the nickname “Little Miggie,” after Cabrera, to whom he has some resemblance in stature with the suggestion of similar talent.
Garcia is flashing bits of his five-tool talent every day. On Tuesday night, he sliced a two-run triple to right off Tigers ace Max Scherzer, then beat a throw to second on an attempted force play in the 11th. Moments later, Garcia scored the winning run.
During Wednesday’s game, Garcia drove in the Sox’s first run with a bases-loaded infield single up the middle in the first and collected another single in the third. But he also has to learn to deal with failure. Garcia hit into a double play in the seventh and struck out with the tying runs on base in the eighth.
In Tuesday’s deciding 11th, Garcia was at third base and had a chance to chat with Cabrera during a break in the action.
“I’m good friends with him, we talk a lot,” said Cabrera.
“We always talk about baseball and family,” said Garcia.
Cabrera’s advice during their Tigers days was basic.
“He always talks about how you get ready,” Garcia said. “The only thing he said is play hard, no matter what happens. If you’re 0-for-4, play hard.”
Cabrera said Garcia will improve through playing time.
“He’s got a chance right now in Chicago to play every day, to get better,” he said. “He’ll be able to see a lot of pitches. He’ll need to keep working.”
Chesterton’s Lloyd McClendon also worked with him as hitting coach during their Detroit days.
“He’s a young kid, he’s 22, he’s learning,” said McClendon. “He’s a tremendous talent. The biggest thing is he just needs to play. The more he plays, the better he’s going to become. He’s quite a talent. The White Sox got quite a player, and I think they’re going to love him.”