White Sox plan for Avisail to see time in RF

White Sox plan for Avisail to see time in RF

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Avisail Garcia was not a fan of filling the designated hitter slot in 2016, so he probably will be buoyed by White Sox manager Rick Renteria's words on Sunday about Garcia moving back to right field.

"I'm looking to see if Avi can settle into right field," Renteria said. "He's another individual that we would use that DH slot in the swing role. But I hope that we can get him more playing time in right and see if he's able to go ahead and perform the way everybody hopes and he was expected to previously."

Garcia started 63 games as the designated hitter in '16. He played 55 games in the outfield, with one defensive run saved overall per baseball-reference.com, and has come into camp noticeably lighter than last season. But Renteria won't blame Garcia's inexperience at handling DH responsibilities for his .245 average and .307 on-base percentage, with 12 home runs and 51 RBIs.

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"There are some guys that we always view as being potential everyday type of players," Renteria said. "But I don't think that I'm going lay any fault on the fact he didn't play every single day in right field as to what may or may not have occurred in what we believe he was capable of doing.

"His clutch numbers were really good last year. Kind of take it with a grain of salt and figure out what it is that will work with him best, but also work for us as an organization and as a team."

DH to be a revolving spot
Renteria intends to rotate players through the DH spot, giving certain players days off from the field without taking them from the lineup, reiterating on Sunday a point made in late January at SoxFest. Those players figure to include Garcia, Matt Davidson and Jose Abreu, despite Abreu's expressed past preference to play first base.

Abreu seems fine with the possibility.

"Everyone knows we are here to play," Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo. "I don't like to be a DH, but in a season as long as the Major League season is, there are some days you need to be a DH or you need to take a rest. I'm good with that. Rick is the boss and we have to follow his lead."

Be aggressive
There probably will be a few White Sox outs on the basepaths during Cactus League play, but Renteria is all right with those outcomes. Regardless of their speed, he wants his players to be aggressive.

"Being aggressive, being fearless, but not being reckless," Renteria said. "Be knowledgeable and take advantage of situations on the bases.

"Obviously it's something we still have to try to incorporate as the spring goes on. Hopefully, we can continue to clean things up on the bases that will allow us to maximize advancing as much as we can."

Third to first
Abreu was impressed by the amount of talent in camp. He also liked the atmosphere fostered by Renteria.

"I'm impressed with the kind of communication that Rick is having with the players and the coaching staff," Abreu said. "He's on top of everything.

"He likes to communicate with everybody, to have the same level of communication with everybody. That's important. In my case especially, it's good because I can communicate with him in Spanish. That's direct communication between us and that's very, very good."

Renteria plans on using a core of veteran players who not only can serve as leaders but also be voices and a conduit between the manager and the clubhouse so he can get a feel where everyone is.

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.