Adonis a pleasant surprise in the power department

Adonis a pleasant surprise in the power department

ATLANTA -- Since the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Braves have been the beneficiaries of the power-hitting stroke of a 30-year-old Cuban third baseman.

No, not Hector Olivera -- the big name from Atlanta's three-team trade with the Dodgers and Marlins -- but rookie Adonis Garcia, whose two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning helped the Braves take Thursday's series opener against the Fish, 9-8.

Garcia was practically unheard of before this season, joining the Braves late in Spring Training after spending his first 11 professional years with the Cuban National team and the Minor Leagues. But Garcia has entered the Majors in a big way, homering four times in the past 11 games for Atlanta.

According to Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, the recent success simply comes from getting a chance.

"He's gotten an opportunity to play in the big leagues," Gonzalez said. "He hasn't got one in a couple years, and all of the sudden we get him really late in Spring Training. I think he has more home runs in the big leagues than he has in Triple-A."

As a matter of fact, Garcia homered just three times in 331 at-bats with Triple-A Gwinnett this season, good for a .369 slugging percentage.

Compare that to his time with the Braves, with whom Garcia has four home runs in just 50 at-bats, good for a .520 slugging percentage.

While those excellent power numbers shouldn't be expected to stick for the rest of the season, there's no denying that Garcia's bat -- as well as his glove at third base -- has proven beneficial to the Braves.

"You know, he is a guy whose swing works," Gonzalez said. "And they're big home runs, it seems like, all the time."

All four of Garcia's home runs this season have come in a go-ahead inning for the Braves, including his recent walk-off homer to take a 12-inning game against the Giants on Monday.

While prodigious power numbers might not continue as the season wears on, Garcia has, at the very least, made a name for himself at the highest level.

"He's a solid Major League baseball player," Gonzalez said.

Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.