Hard work paying off for Garcia at hot corner

Hard work paying off for Garcia at hot corner

ATLANTA -- As the Braves' starting third baseman at the beginning of the season, Adonis Garcia committed seven errors in his first 18 games, prompting a move to left field and a demotion to Triple-A.

Atlanta optioned the 31-year-old Garcia to Gwinnett with the intention of getting him extra work in the outfield. But manager Brian Snitker knows moves like this can often pay greater dividends.

"They do get a chance to refocus, realize some things and reassess themselves," Snitker said about players being demoted. "And since he's been back up here, he's been great. He's working hard every day, and he's been real solid at third base."

Garcia sustained his success in Friday's 5-1 win over the Cubs at Turner Field, as he not only tied his career high with three hits, including a home run, but he also made two standout plays at third base in the fifth inning.

A. Garcia's solo home run

Javier Baez led off the fifth with a sharp line drive down the third-base line, but Garcia snagged the ball as it screamed directly at him. A batter later, Garcia lunged to his left to make a diving grab and fired a throw to first base to retire Addison Russell.

"It starts with the manager and him having that confidence in me to run out there," said Garcia through an interpreter about his recent confidence playing third base. "Obviously, it feels great as a player.

"All of the work I've been putting in with the coaches and [bench coach Terry Pendleton] on footwork defensively, and just having a sense of focus out there and try to make the plays and do what I can to help the team out, it's good to feel like I'm doing well there."

With infielders Erick Aybar and Gordon Beckham on the disabled list, Garcia has started 12 straight games at third as Daniel Castro and Chase d'Arnaud have primarily manned shortstop and second base.

During this span, Garcia has shown his defensive skills playing the hot corner, where he has handled 37 of his 38 chances cleanly.

"He went back there [to Gwinnett] and played left and worked really hard at that," Snitker said. "But he's worked hard ever since he got back here because the need has been at third. And hats off to him for just staying focused on what he needs to do."

Garcia could see less playing time at third base when Aybar makes his projected return to the roster for Sunday's series finale. For now, he's determined to maintain his steady play.

"I put in a lot of work during the offseason, so I've just got to keep trying to make those improvements and make those adjustments every time," Garcia said. "I'm always trying to work to get better. I'm pleased with where I am, but I feel like I'm close and want to keep working at it."

Pat James is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.