GLENDALE, Ariz. -- This is the kind of day the White Sox hoped for this spring, one with an Avisail Garcia homer that John Danks said is the farthest he’s ever seen hit here.
The White Sox outfielder got positive reinforcement in the form of loud contact on Tuesday as he continues to experiment with a new approach in exhibition games. Garcia blasted a massive two-run home run to left field and also tripled in two more runs. He also singled as part of a 16-hit attack as the White Sox topped the Milwaukee Brewers 10-6. Jimmy Rollins also homered as the White Sox improved to 4-1-1.
“Mechanically, he’s working on some things and sometimes it’ll look a little funky,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think with the way he’s swinging it today, putting the bat on the ball hard to right field and with the homer, some time that stuff clicks in with the more at-bats you have. Good approach from him today.”
Garcia has worked on the new mechanics for a little more than six weeks. In January, he and hitting coach Todd Steverson worked out for three days in Miami to establish a new approach. By standing more upright, the White Sox hope Garcia sees pitches better than he has in the past. They’ve seen some evidence of that in the first. They also had him lower his hands to chest level for a more direct line to the ball.
That resulted in a moonshot Tuesday off Chase Anderson that cleared the berm in left field and may have bounced up against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ clubhouse.
The White Sox are not so naïve to think the alterations will kick in overnight. They know it’s a process and it can be a lengthy one. But they figure it’s better for Garcia to experiment now as all statistics are reset in early April.
And the hope is these changes help Garcia tap into a tremendous wealth of potential power by getting the ball in the air more often.
“Difference to me is the finish,” said one American League scout. “Definitely more intent to lift the ball.”
Garcia has six hits and a walk in his first 13 plate appearances this spring. He likes how he has begun, but knows the switch is a work in progress.
“I’m working really hard in the mornings on my routine,” Garcia said. “Trying to take good pitches and learn about the situations in the game.
“I’ve put my hands closer to the strike zone because last year it was up top. Now I moved it a little bit down so it’ll be closer to the strike zone. When I was up, it was too far away.”
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
The amount of times the 2015 White Sox offense looked as potent as it has this week were few and far between. Rollins and Garcia became the 11th and 12th players to homer this spring with nobody hitting more than one. Rollins and Adam Eaton each finished with three hits while Melky Cabrera and Carlos Sanchez had two apiece.
Garcia said the team has a sense of urgency to start strong this season.
“We’re on our way,” Garcia said. “We have to do it right now. We have to start now and for me it’s important to win right now. Once you start winning, you have the feeling, you can trust the other guys. We have to work and have fun. We have to be ready for the season.”