Garcia continues to hone skills in Winter League ball

Garcia continues to hone skills in Winter League ball

MIAMI -- The power component continues to improve for Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia, who connected on 10 home runs in his rookie season. But more than just showing the ability to deposit the ball over the wall, he is using his Winter League experience to help refine his defense.

Garcia and Hector Olivera are the frontrunners to become Atlanta's regular third baseman. Whether he wins it or not may come down to his ability to play the position.

Garcia is currently getting more repetitions at third base playing for Navegantes del Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League. This weekend, his team is participating in the inaugural Serie de las Americas at Marlins Park.

"This type of baseball really helps me a lot," Garcia said through a translator. "It gives you a chance to improve, and gives you the fast-paced game mentality at the same time."

Magallanes faced the Cardenales de Lara on Saturday in the first game of the two-day event in Miami.

In his first at-bat, Garcia delivered an RBI double.

"Playing in Marlins Park, it's great," Garcia said. "I really like this whole vibe of Caribbean-style baseball."

Garcia's solo shot

A native of Cuba, Garcia initially signed with the Yankees in 2012, before joining the Braves as a free agent last season. The 30-year-old opened the 2015 season at Triple-A Gwinnett, where he hit .284/.314/.369 with three home runs and 47 RBIs.

Garcia's power kicked in after he was promoted to Atlanta, where he batted .277 with 10 homers, 12 doubles and 26 RBIs in 191 at-bats over 58 games. Defense, though, was an issue, as he committed 10 errors in 345 1/3 innings at third base as a rookie.

Playing for Magallanes, Garcia has continued to be productive, batting .326 with two homers and eight RBIs in eight games.

"The aspect I'm working the most on is playing third base," he said. "I was told by the Braves that is where I have the chance of playing the most. In regards to being at the plate, there isn't as much I need to work on, but [it] was also suggested by the Braves, to be much more calm in my approach, take better pitches and not be so impatient [with pitches] in certain locations."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.