GLENDALE, Ariz. – It’s early, so take it with a grain of salt. But Avisail Garcia’s home run in the Sox’ intrasquad game Tuesday was something to feel good about.
Spring training is about building blocks and small steps of progression toward the regular season. And will all eyes watching Garcia closely this spring, it doesn’t hurt the right fielder to get off to a good start, especially after he altered his batting stance slightly over the winter.
“I have to stay with it and believe in what I’m doing,’’ said Garcia, who homered to the opposite field on a fastball middle-in from prospect Brandon Brennan. “Have confidence. And everything is new so I have to keep working and repeat, repeat, repeat where I get to the point where I’m confident every day.’’
“He’s been looking good the last couple of days,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “Any time a guy hits a home run it’s nice but for him to start off like that is good to see. He’s playing a lot of innings already in intrasquad games and playing well, swinging the bat.’’
Garcia hit only 13 homers over 601 plate appearances in his first full season in 2015. As big and strong as he is, the Sox would like to see him hit more, especially on his pull side to left field. Whether the stance makes a difference remains to be seen.
“The mechanics of it are a little different,’’ Ventura said. “You can see him sitting down a little. I think his bat is a little flatter as far as starting going through the zone, which is going to help him maintain that barrel through the zone a little longer. Whether he hits it as much, he’s going to be able to foul stuff off, stay alive a little more and give himself more chances.’’
Carlos Rodon allowed three runs on four hits over two hits in the intrasquad.
“It’s hard when you’re a competitor out there,’’ he said. “You give up three runs, I was a little mad. I don’t want to give up runs, even if it’s against our team. I mean, I’m glad they’re hitting the ball, and putting the ball in play, but I want to get them out just as bad.’’
Rodon is working on fastball command and getting his changeup over for a strike this spring.
“I threw a couple of good (changeups),’’ he said. “I’m still getting a feel for it. It feels a lot better than last year, so that’s good.’’
Other highlights from Team Frazier’s 8-4 win over Team Abreu: Center fielder J.B. Shuck was 3-for-3 with a triple and RBI, third baseman Matt Davidson hit a two-run triple and Adam Eaton, playing at designated hitter as he builds up strength in his throwing should after offseason arthroscopic surgery, was 2-for-4. On the sloppy side, Eaton was picked off by Brennan and shortstop Tim Anderson made a throwing error to first.