Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Leury Garcia's versatility valuable
By Richard Durrett
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lost in the shadows cast by highly-ranked prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt is another player who could have an important impact on the Texas Rangers in 2013. Leury Garcia, who turns 22 in late March, is going about his business at camp these days.
"I feel like I've got an opportunity to make the team as a utility guy, and that's my goal," Garcia said. "I want to work hard and do the best I can and show I can do it."
Garcia may not have the ceiling of Profar and Olt, but he has something every utility candidate needs: versatility. Garcia can play second base, short, third and outfield. He said that in winter ball he played right field in the championship series.
"No. 1, he's a middle infielder, so that gives him two positions that are valuable from a utility point of view," said Tim Purpura, senior director of player development. "He handles them both very well with good range at short, plenty of arm, and at second base he's under control, makes all the plays and pivots well.
"We've had him in the outfield a little bit and he can play out there. He's an athlete and good utility guys are usually good athletes that can do multiple things with their bodies. He tracks the ball well. The last piece is that he's got some sock in that bat to go along with his speed. He can run. He gives you lots of options defensively and offensively and
Garcia hit .292 with two homers and 30 RBIs in 377 at-bats for Double-A Frisco in 2012. He had 31 stolen bases (and was caught seven times). Garcia then played for Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican (winter ball) and batted .285 in 144 at-bats with two homers, 10 RBIs and nine stolen bases in 37 games.
So he came into spring training with some confidence and believing he belongs. The Rangers could end up going outside for the utility job with Ryan Theriot, for instance, still on the market. Perhaps Profar ends up as that guy. But Garcia is certainly one to watch this spring as the Rangers look at their options at utility.