GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Avisail Garcia said he worked all but two weeks this offseason in an effort to prove he can play the outfield.
Whether it was winter ball in Venezuela or working out, the White Sox right fielder said he has lost nearly 15 pounds from the end of last season. He hopes to lose even more before the start of the season and thinks the lighter weight should help him in the field. Garcia — who was acquired in a three-team trade from Detroit in July 2013 — appears to have the inside track to be the team's starting right fielder.
"I feel better like this," Garcia said. "I can run better like this. I can play better defense like this. I can hit better like this. I just have to keep working and lose a little bit more."
Garcia said he reported to camp at 254 pounds and wants to get down to 248. He's hopeful that lighter playing weight and more consistent playing time help him improve in the outfield, where he's been below average for his career. While defensive metrics show he was OK in limited play last season, Garcia had a miserable 2015 campaign in the field when he produced a minus-11 Defensive Runs Saved and minus-6.2 Ultimate Zone Rating. That came on the heels of a minus-8 DRS and minus-6.2 UZR showing in 2014.
Still, Garcia is hopeful he can make progress and prove to the rebuilding White Sox he's the man for the job.
"That's my regular position, and I know can do my job there, a really good job," Garcia said. "I'm just trying to prepare myself to get ready for the season and try to get in better shape, try to do my best to help my team win."
The field isn't the only area the White Sox and Garcia are hoping for improvement. Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 home runs and 59 RBIs in 453 plate appearances last season. For his career, Garcia has a OPS-plus of 93, which is seven points below league average.
But based on his .355/.421/.538 slash line with runners in scoring position, the White Sox still think Garcia can become a very good hitter. They just need to help him translate the focus he puts into those 107 plate appearances into the majority of his trips to the plate.
"In those situations for us where he was a key person in terms of RBI situations, he didn't try to do too much," manager Rick Renteria said. "If he ended up hitting, getting an extra base hit in those situations, great. But if he didn't it wasn't anything he concerned himself with. I think we are just trying to make sure he focuses on honing in and simplifying what he wants to do in terms of approaches. Hopefully that can lead to him being more effective without runners on base."
Though there was some thought he wouldn't return this season, Garcia — who signed a one-year deal worth $3 million in December — tried not to think about it. He instead focused on his offseason program to have himself ready for what is likely his last chance to prove to the White Sox he belongs.
"I have a lot of responsibility coming," Garcia said. "I just want to be ready. I want to be my best. I want to have a good year for me, but for the team also. I have to get ready and play baseball."