Budding White Sox star Avisail Garcia copes with high hopes

SHARE Budding White Sox star Avisail Garcia copes with high hopes

There’s no way to measure the magnitude of Avisail Garcia’s breakthrough night Tuesday for the White Sox. On some levels, it was a pretty big deal that the prized prospect acquired in the Jake Peavy trade tripled in a couple of runs, scored two, had two hits and scooted home in the 11th inning with the game winning run to beat the organization he grew up with.

The next morning, he was one of the first players to arrive at the park, eager to show us more what he can do.

The last thing the Sox wanted was to watch Garcia get off to a slow start, and when he was 2-for-13 going into Tuesday’s game, the groundwork was laid for just that. With a new team, teammates, fans — new everything — Garcia wouldn’t be the first 22-year-old to tighten up and have a 2-for-13 morph into a 5-for-40.

First base coach Daryl Boston, who works with Sox outfielders, was a Sox first-round draft choice in 1981 so he knows what it’s like to cope with the hope.

“When you give up a guy like Jake Peavy [in a trade for Garcia] and you have five-tool expectations that scouts have put on him and being compared to Miguel Cabrera, then being in a new environment and proving to teammates that you’re worthy of the trade, he’s got a lot on his plate right now,’’ Boston said.

It would be easy for Garcia to set his bar too high and not just go out and play.

“He’s coming over from a different organization through a trade so he has everything working against him as far as not trying to overdo it,’’ new teammate Adam Dunn said.

“He’s 22 and he’s trying to do everything. If things don’t go well then he’s really going to press. And with a new team it will add more pressure.’’

Dunn, who has experienced great expectations with different teams because of his stature and the size of his contracts, knows that pressure comes with the territory. He tried to diffuse it for Garcia by saying he won’t be judgmental about him. Not this week, not next month.

“If he does do good, then great,’’ Dunn said. “He’s going to do some cool things anyway and we know how good he is. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how good a player he’s going to be. But I wouldn’t put any stock in this year at all.’’

Boston said he can’t wait to see where Garcia’s talent will take him. The Sox outfielders overseer, he’s already to working with him during spring training.

“It’s a small sample size but I like what I see,’’ Boston said. “He’s here early, and he wants to contribute. In batting practice he’s getting balls off the bat and you see him working on stuff in the cage. I’m looking forward to seeing him getting this last month and a half under his belt and really looking forward seeing how he comes to spring training.’’

Dunn would like to tell Garcia to relax but it’s no use. Not relaxing “is a natural thing.’’

“He’s very, very, very talented and he’s a good kid. His tools are off the chart.’’

Garcia seems to know this. While his talent raises hopes, it also allows him to play confidently and not press.

“In baseball you have good days, good weeks, bad days and bad weeks,’’ he said. “That happens. You just keep going.

“[Pressure is] kind of normal because it’s your first time here. You meet new guys, you make a new family and all this stuff. I feel real good right now. I just do my best. This is a good opportunity for me.’’

The Latest
Both vehicles struck the woman, 25, who was crossing the street, police said.
Luca Carbonaro was remarkably efficient on Friday in Wheaton, scoring 18 points on just eight shots to lead Wheaton-Warrenville South to a 56-24 win against Geneva.
“We’re ensuring that Illinoisans across the state have access to the resources and wraparound support that sets them up for success,” Pritzker said in marking the second year expansion at St. Augustine College in Uptown. St. Augustine’s Aurora and Grayslake locations received $1 million in funding for the program.
The FDA announced a draft of new guidelines Friday that would end mandatory three-month abstinence periods for men who have sex with men. For Illinois hospitals and blood banks, the change is long overdue.