BOSTON – Adam LaRoche got two mental days off at the start of the White Sox series in Boston. On Thursday, Avisail Garcia took a day to work on swing.
While Garcia’s slump – he is hitting .276 in July – is nothing like LaRoche’s (.147, no homers, four RBI in July), the big right fielder’s power has all but disappeared.
“He goes through these little stretches where he probably swings and misses too much and I think he just expands the zone,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.“A day to work on some stuff.’’
Garcia has no homers, four RBI and only two extra-base hits in July. Left-handed hitting J.B. Shuck start in right field and batting seventh.
“Shuck has been playing well, you can get him in there and it does two things. Shucky has been in there enough where it’s still fluid the way our lineup works and Avi gets a day to clear his head and work on some stuff.’’
Garcia, 23, is playing through his first full season. He has big power potential but is sitting on seven homers and 33 RBI.
“It’s not quite what he’s looking for and what we’d like to see, too,’’ Ventura said. “He’s been better. He’s able to get his average there but as far as getting something behind it with some authority, it’s a little behind right now.’’
Johnson hurt, Sellers acquired
After AAA Charlotte second baseman Micah Johnson strained his left hamstring, the Sox acquired AAA infielder Justin Sellers from the Pittsburgh Pirates and assigned him to Charlotte.
“With Leury Garcia in the big leagues and Micah Johnson unavailable, we needed a player with major-league experience to provide some depth at Charlotte,’’ assistant general manager Buddy Bell said.
Robertson, Yankees reunion
Closer David Robertson, drafted and developed by the Yankees, might feel strange facing them if given a save opportunity this weekend, but Robertson fits the profile of one who won’t be affected by any emotions.
Robertson is always the same, as steady as they come, Sox bullpen coach and former closer Bobby Thigpen said.
“After a game, good or bad, he stays at the same level which is good,’’ Thigpen said. “You can’t let it wear on you.’’
Robertson, signed to a four-year, $46 million contract last offseason, and lefty Zach Duke was signed for three years, $15 million, stabilizing what was a thin bullpen not only with better arms but veteran leadership, Thigpen said.
“We’ve got a good mix – [young] guys who have played a year now and have more confidence but we also have David, Zach Duke and Matt Albers who have been around a while,’’ Thigpen said. “I see a lot of conversation between those guys and the young guys. It’s a good mix for us.’’
Through Wednesday, the Sox bullpen owned a 1.63 ERA over the last 17 games, the third lowest in the majors during that stretch since July 7 behind the Giants (1.18) and Marlins (1.28).
The Sox open a home stand Friday with a three-game series against the New York Yankees. Here are the pitching probables:
Friday, 7:10, CSN, 670-AM, 1200-AM
Nathan Eovaldi (10-2, 4.27)vs. Carlos Rodon (4-3, 4.09)
Saturday, 6:10, CSN, 670-AM, 1200-AM
TBA vs. John Danks (5-8, 4.97)
Sunday, 1:10, CSN, 670-AM, 1200-AM
Ivan Nova (3-3, 3.38) vs. Jeff Samardzija (8-5, 3.82)
Wasting no time
Jose Abreu’s homer to right-center with Adam Eaton on base gave the Sox a 2-0 lead. The Sox scored 13 runs in the first inning in the four-game series against the Red Sox and have outscored opponents 18-3 in the first in the last six games.
David Ortiz’s RBI single against Chris Sale in the first made it 2-1.
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