White Sox Win 5th in a Row, Rienzo Gets First Victory
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before his 12th game in a White Sox uniform, Avisail Garcia calmly leaned back in a chair in the visitors’ clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium and considered the difficulties in making the transition to his new team.
The 22-year-old outfielder couldn’t come up with one.
“Good guys, and I feel comfortable here,” he said.
By several accounts, Garcia’s move to the Sox — from Triple-A Charlotte after a three-team trade with the Tigers and Red Sox — has been smooth. He extended his hitting streak to eight games Wednesday in the Sox’s game with a 5-2 victory over the Royals when he beat out a throw to first on a grounder to shortstop Alcides Escobar in the sixth inning.
Likewise, the Sox have been playing more comfortably with newcomers in the lineup like Garcia and right-hander Andre Rienzo, who earned his first major league victory after giving up five hits over six innings. Addison Reed earned his 33rd save.
Behind a fourth-inning grand slam from Dayan Viciedo, the Sox extended their winning streak to five games for the first time this season.
“It’s just different,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said of the team’s recent competitive streak. “Coming to the ballpark there is a different feel to it. You add Garcia and what he brings and add different personalities, and it just makes it different.”
Ventura has said Garcia is not the typical young call-up. He thinks Garcia’s time with the Tigers, including 12 games in the playoffs last season, has helped him mature. Entering Wednesday, Garcia was hitting .429 with five RBIs and five runs in the previous seven games. Along with the single, he struck out twice, flied out and grounded into a force out.
“Not only the way he carries himself, but the way he goes about his work and doing things,” Ventura said. “He’s a kid who wants to get better. … He’s a little more experienced and mature than most young guys.”
Garcia said he has settled in with his mother and wife in Chicago. He said he wants to “stay here for a long time” and mapped out a lofty plan for future seasons.
“I’m working to have a good year here with the White Sox, try to make the playoffs (as) a team and win the World Series,” he said.
Sox first baseman Paul Konerko called Garcia “a good kid.”
“He’s obviously doing well, but besides that everybody is liking him a lot,” Konerko said. “When you trade somebody like Jake (Peavy), which is a valuable piece, you hope you get something back in return that is valuable.”