Garcia gets hit in first Major League at-bat

24-year-old starts opener on Friday vs. Twins

Garcia gets hit in first Major League at-bat

MINNEAPOLIS -- Willy Garcia didn't just make history Friday as part of the first outfield with three players sharing the same last name. He also made his Major League debut in the White Sox 2-1 win over the Twins at Target Field.

Garcia was called up from Triple-A Charlotte to fill the roster spot of Melky Cabrera, who is on paternity leave through the weekend. White Sox manager Rick Renteria said it was a "natural thing" to take a look at Garcia, who was hitting .423/.559/.692 with two home runs in his first week with the Knights.

"He was doing well," Renteria said. "He's been working out there in left a little bit, so it's just kind of slotted for the next three days. We'll give him a start tonight and then we'll see how the rest of it goes."

Garcia went 1-for-4 in his debut, doubling off Twins starter Adalberto Mejia in the second inning in his first Major League at-bat. He was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple, but that didn't dampen his enthusiasm. Neither did a 35-minute rain delay or intermittent showers that sprung up throughout the game.

"When I go out there and I see the tarp on the field and I say, 'Oh my gosh, this is my debut and it's raining,' I was a little bit nervous," Garcia said. "But when I saw the guys take the tarp off, I said, 'OK, here we go.'"

The early struggles of Jacob May also played into Renteria's decision to give Garcia a shot. May is hitless in his first 14 Major League at-bats after breaking camp with the White Sox. The coaching staff decided to give him a three-game break, holding him out of the last two games in Cleveland and Friday's series opener in Minnesota.

That opened the door for Garcia, who joined the organization when the White Sox claimed him off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the offseason. Renteria said when they sent Garcia to the Minors last month, they asked him to focus on staying on the ball and going up the middle. He took the challenge to heart.

"The first adjustment I made was in my mindset, just to try to be more relaxed, more confident, more secure about my skills," Garcia said through an interpreter. "In the offensive part, I just tried to follow the instructions of my coaches, the drills that they put us through in Spring Training and in Charlotte. Now I'm more patient at the plate and my pitch selection is much better, and I think the results are there."

Garcia, who said his favorite player growing up was Manny Ramirez, will be moving to his hero's position in left field after spending the last two years in right field for the Pirates' affiliates. He's not worried about the change, especially after starting working there in Charlotte.

"I feel very confident about my skills at the position, about my job there. It's nothing different for me."

Teammate Leury Garcia is excited to see the rookie get his first shot in the big leagues.

"I had a chance to see him play in the Dominican in winter ball," Leury Garcia said. "He's a great player. He's got some pop, he can throw, he can play. He really can play."

Patrick Donnelly is a contributor to based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.