GLENDALE, Ariz. — Basketball is not a big deal in the Dominican Republic, so let’s cut Leury Garcia some slack for not knowing who Larry Bird is.
But he should know. When Garcia first joined the Sox in 2013, coach Joe
McEwing playfully began calling him Larry Legend, after the Celtics Hall of Famer.
“Larry Legend, yeah,’’ Garcia said. “As soon as I got here, he gave me that nickname. I don’t know where that come from but . . .”
In the course of the conversation about Bird, teammate Todd Frazier provided helpful hand signals.
“Number 33?” Garcia said.
“Thanks, Fraz!,’’ Garcia said.
“Legend” might be a stretch for one who is fighting for a spot on the roster. But Garcia is versatile, which increasing his value and his chances. The only positions he hasn’t played in the majors are first base and catcher. He even appeared as a pitcher in two games.
“It has helped me a lot,’’ Garcia said. “They can put me in the lineup wherever they need me to play.’’
Garcia is having a good spring, 15-for-45 (.333) with four doubles, two walks and two stolen bases in two attempts. Manager Rick Renteria said he is comfortable playing the switch hitter anywhere.
“Leury has shown pretty solid defensive prowess at all of them and kind of transitions very easily,’’ Renteria said.