Garcia showing a knack for pinch-hitting

Garcia showing a knack for pinch-hitting

Garcia showing a knack for pinch-hitting
DETROIT -- It's long been said that pinch-hitting is one of the most difficult things to do in baseball. But Tigers 21-year-old outfielder Avisail Garcia is making it look easy.

Following Tuesday night's pinch-hit single against Yankees left-hander Boone Logan, Garcia -- about a month and a half deep into his Major League career -- is 3-for-4 as a pinch-hitter in the postseason.

And his name hasn't been called with a big lead. He's stepped to the dish, cold off the bench, in high-pressure, high-stakes situations. But rather than shy away from the moment, he's embraced it.

"You know, I think nervousness is part of the game," Garcia said. "I'm a human like everybody, so I have to control that and be focused on the game and be positive."

The young Venezuelan was certainly focused in Game 4 of the American League Division Series against Oakland, when runners were on base in the eighth inning of a one-run game. He proceeded to knock in a crucial insurance run, giving Detroit a slightly more comfortable two-run lead.

In Game 2 of the AL Championship Series, he notched another pinch-hit RBI in the eighth inning of a tight game, again driving in a run to increase the Tigers' lead to two.

And Tuesday in Game 3, it could have -- and probably should have -- been three straight pinch-hit RBIs. However, second baseman Omar Infante hesitated to make sure the ball didn't find a glove, resulting in him being held up at third base.

Not many rookies find themselves in the same position as Garcia, called up at the end of August, immediately inserted into the lineup against left-handers, and on a team one win away from the World Series.

"That's probably the hardest thing to do in baseball and I've learned that from being up here and having my pinch-hit role how hard that is," said Quintin Berry, who was 1-for-6 in that situation during the regular season. "The fact that he's able to come through is amazing, especially as young as he is. I'm happy for him and want him to continue to do it and do it for the rest of this postseason."