MINNEAPOLIS — The Sox’ lineup Friday one day will be the answer to a trivia question.
With Willy Garcia in left field, Leury Garcia in center and Avisail Garcia in right in a 2-1 victory over the Twins, the Sox featured three players with the same last name starting in the outfield for the first time in history. A rain delay made everyone wait for a moment that seemed more coincidental and trivial than historic.
“Everybody talked about it,’’ Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s pretty cool. Kind of a coincidence, but it’s neat.’’
According to Elias, there have been three games in major-league history in which one team had three outfielders with the same last name at the same time, but they didn’t all start. Brothers Felipe, Jesus and Matty Alou appeared in three games with the San Francisco Giants in September 1963.
As it turned out, each one made a contribution. Leury doubled and scored a run and pleased Renteria by using his speed to cut off a couple balls hit in the gaps, Avisail singled twice to raise his average to .452 – he has hit safely in all nine games – and Willy doubled in his first major league at-bat in the second, although he made the third out trying to make it a triple.
The Sox called up Willy Garcia from Class AAA Charlotte to replace left fielder Melky Cabrera (paternity list), whose wife delivered the couple’s fourth child Friday. Leury Garcia made his third consecutive start in center in place of rookie Jacob May.
“It was the best experience of my life,” Willy said. “When I saw the tarp on the field (delaying the start 35 minutes) I said, ‘Oh my God, it’s my debut and it’s raining.’ ’’
Garcia said when he stepped in the batter’s box against left-hander Adalberto Meija, he thought to himself, ‘Oh my God this is real life. I’m here.’ I was nervous the first three pitches but when I saw that fastball I thought, ‘Let’s go. Put on a good swing and don’t try to do too much.’ ’’
Covey’s special moment
Like Willy Garcia, right-hander Dylan Covey made his major league debut. A Rule 5 draft pick who has fought back after dealing with diabetes, Covey pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball. He doesn’t recall ever pitching in rain like that before.
After the game, the moisture didn’t stop as Covey, 25, got “showered with all sorts of beverages,’’ he said. “I don’t even know what some of it was, but it’s pretty stinky in the shower right now.’’
“I’ve been waiting [for this moment] a long time. My wife and family were here — I’m happy they got to see it. I can’t wait to go out there and give everyone a hug.’’
Frazier at DH
Todd Frazier, who missed two games in Cleveland with an illness, was 0-for-4 at designated hitter, victimized by two excellent infield plays. Renteria said he hoped to put Frazier back at third base Saturday.
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Willy Garcia has played mostly right field in the minors, although he did get some work in left this week, playing one game in left field in Charlotte.
“But I know the position,” Garcia said through translator Billy Russo. “That was the position I used to play when I started playing baseball professionally, and I feel very confident in my skills at the position. It’s nothing different for me.”
Willy Garcia, 24, is hitting .423 two home runs, six RBI and nine runs scored in seven games with the Knights this season. He was named International League hitter of the week for the first week of the season.