CHICAGO – Avisail Garcia’s long travel day ended with a 98-mph fastball to the back of the left arm, but the White Sox’s newest outfielder wasn’t complaining.
“I think it was really good,” Garcia said. “I was a little tired but everything is good and I’ll just focus on tomorrow.”
And the arm after getting hit by the pitch from the Minnesota Twins’ Glen Perkins?
“I’m going to put a little ice on it right now,” he said.
Garcia, who was acquired on July 30 from the Detroit Tigers in the three-team trade that sent Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox, went a long way to make his White Sox debut Friday.
He was in Charlotte on Friday, until the White Sox traded Alex Rios to the Texas Rangers just before the 1:10 p.m. start of the first game of Friday’s doubleheader against the Twins.
He scrambled to the airport and landed at O’Hare International Airport at 6 p.m. The White Sox were originally hoping Garcia would be in Chicago in time to start the second game, but he ultimately entered the dugout in the fifth inning.
He pinch hit for Blake Tekotte in the seventh inning and struck out on three pitches, before reaching base on the pitch to the arm in the 10th inning. He was stranded at third base when Alexei Ramirez flied out to end the game, leaving the White Sox with a 3-2 defeat.
“I feel pretty excited because I have a new family now with new guys and new friends,” Garcia said. “I just have to say hi to everybody and I’m really happy to be here.”
As far as acquaintances on the White Sox, Garcia said he knows Jose Quintana well and is familiar with Dayan Viciedo, Alexei Ramirez and Alejandro De Aza. Other than that it’s a matter of getting to know everybody else.
For now the White Sox are going to use Garcia in all spots in the outfield, asking him to play center field Friday.
“Lately he's been playing center field so when he went in it was natural just to leave him there for today,” manager Robin Ventura said. “But he has the ability to play everywhere so you'll probably see him mostly in center and right.”
He is expected to play every day now that Alex Rios’ departure has left an opening in the outfield.
In addition to Garcia’s White Sox debut in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader, starting pitcher Charlie Leesman was also making his first appearance in a White Sox uniform. The long day that ended in a doubleheader sweep, was one of transition for the White Sox.
“Yeah, you know, it's a different day for a lot of these guys,” Ventura said. “You see a guy like Rios leave basically 30 minutes before the game. You know, it's tough I think for a lot of guys that enjoyed him being here and enjoyed having him play here. And he's a good guy, a good teammate so that's always tough when you see a guy like that go.”
Now it’s Garcia’s time in a White Sox uniform.
“Yeah, I’ll be a little bit more relaxed (Saturday), but at the same time I have a new team now,” Garcia said. “You feel a little bit (anxious) but I try to focus on tomorrow and do something good.”