Avisail Garcia returned to designated hitter duty Wednesday after a rough couple of days in right field. Adam Eaton shifted back to right from center and J.B. Shuck, the DH Tuesday, played center.
Manager Robin Ventura, who seemingly had no choice after seeing Garcia struggle to track fly balls in the first two games of the Tigers series, defended Garcia’s defense by saying his limited time there has hindered his effectiveness.
“So you are going to get him out there, let him work on it, let him get more acclimated with it,’’ Ventura said.
But if he’s not playing the field he won’t get better. Ventura said Garcia isn’t getting good reads on balls hit in his vicinity.
“That’s the tough part,’’ Ventura said. “We are going to have to play with that a little bit and get him out there.’’
While Garcia’s defense has been an issue when he’s on the field, his transition to DH has been acceptable. He was batting 254/.305/.378 and was fifth on the team with 23 RBI.
The left-handed hitting Shuck, who is fast, gives the Sox more coverage in the outfield and allowed Eaton to play right where he has been excellent. But Shuck was batting .195/.250/.254.
“Obviously I got off to a terrible start this year, but I’ve put some good at-bats together lately,’’ he said. “It can’t go anywhere but up.’’
Ventura cuts session short
Ventura brought his pregame media session to an abrupt end – for the first time in anyone’s memory — when a questioner asked a peculiar question about “coming out to settle down your starter just before that four-run outburst to say the thing that needs to be said.”
“What’s that now?” Ventura replied, puzzled at the notion of somehow knowing beforehand that his pitcher was going to struggle. “Are you serious? Just get out of here. Jeez. Come on.’’
Ventura was probably irked by the same person’s earlier suggestion that Garcia would be better served skipping batting practice and taking fungos in the outfield.
“He gets them during BP. Really?” Ventura said.
While it’s safe to assume Ventura may be on edge than usual because of the Sox’ poor play in the last five weeks – and criticism that comes with that – he was calm as always and moments later smiled about the exchange. But the suggestion Garcia doesn’t work hard had touched a nerve.
“He does plenty of work out here,’’ Ventura said. “He works very hard. I don’t want anybody to misconstrue that he doesn’t work hard. That’s an unfair ask, is you think he doesn’t work hard.’’
Anderson: So far, so good
Shortstop Tim Anderson led off for the third time in the Tigers series and so far, hitting coach Todd Steverson likes what he’s seen at the plate.
“Anderson has some lightning hands,’’ Steverson said. “He probably has a little ways to grow and learn at this level. But his fear level is zero. He has no fear, which is all right with me.’’
Steverson said it won’t be long before pitchers start pitching him inside.
“That’s where the maturation comes into play at this level with young kids,’’ Steverson said. “Understanding what they can do, not getting away from your strength and having a seriously focused plan. There are only so many wild animals that survive on the big league level.’’
Anderson led off the first with an infield single and scored the game’s first run on Melky Cabrera’s sacrifice fly, grounded out to second in the third and hit his first major league triple in the fifth.