Outfield play may be helping Avisail at plate

Outfield play may be helping Avisail at plate

CHICAGO -- With a chance for regular playing time in the outfield instead of at designated hitter having returned, Avisail Garcia has produced closer to what the White Sox expected offensively when they acquired him at the 2013 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Garcia matched his career-high with four hits in Monday's victory over the Indians. He entered Tuesday hitting .424 (14-for-33) over his last eight games and .312 with five home runs, 15 RBIs and 19 runs scored over his past 25 games.

"He's gotten better," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "People want him to be [Adam Eaton] in right. If that's possible, I don't know. He can be the best version of himself, which I think he's improved on. Offensively, you're seeing steps being made.

"Once [Adam] LaRoche was gone, we added [Austin Jackson] and that's just the spot he ended up in. Some guys do better with that than others. He likes to be in the game. He likes being in the action. I don't know if he was fully invested in DHing. He's always wanted to play the field. That part, it's not a spot that he wants to do. That could be a reason."

Ventura also cited Garcia's left shoulder injury suffered early on in the 2014 season -- which was thought to be season-ending after surgery to repair a torn labrum -- as an impediment to his development.

"We were talking about it the other day. When he got hurt in Colorado a couple years ago, it was his lead shoulder," said Ventura of the injury limiting Garcia to 46 games in '14. "It might have led to some changes that has taken him a long time to get fully back to where he's confident.

"He was elevating the ball when he got hurt, and he just has never got back to that point. You look at it, even in the spring, you go through a period when he does it. Right now it's a good stretch for him and it looks like he's turned the corner."

Morneau out of action

Justin Morneau was out of Tuesday's starting lineup due to a twinge in his neck, per Ventura. Jose Abreu moved to designated hitter, Todd Frazier took over at first and Carlos Sanchez got the start at third base.

"He should be all right tomorrow," said Ventura of Morneau. "He came out of the game last night with the same thing. It's a little stiff. We're just going to give it today and see how he feels tomorrow." 

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.