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White Sox have imposing figures

2/25/2014

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has channeled his energies over the past year into revamping the roster and making the team younger and more dynamic on the field. Those efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by some of his peers.

“I thought he did a great job," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “As I was watching it take place in July, you could see there was a lot of thought and deliberation put into it. They haven’t gotten a lot of headlines, but the way they’ve gone about it is smart. I think it will pay off."

Jose Dariel Abreu, who will join Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn in a three-pronged first base-DH mix this season, is a big part of that effort. The Sox also added a high-energy center fielder and leadoff hitter in Adam Eaton and a power-hitting third-base prospect in Matt Davidson, and acquired right fielder Avisail Garcia from Detroit as part of the three-way Jake Peavy-Jose Iglesias trade in July.

While Abreu is plenty big at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Garcia might even more physically imposing at 6-4, 240.

“We had Abreu in here first, and then Garcia showed up," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I said, ‘I thought Abreu was really big until Avi got here.'"

Garcia, 22, was 16 years old when he signed with Detroit out of his native Venezuela in 2007. His best season came in 2012, when he hit .299 with 14 homers and 23 stolen bases between Class A Lakeland and Double-A Erie. The Tigers brought him up for the 2012 postseason, and Garcia hit .283 in 72 games between Detroit and Chicago last year. He struck out 59 times and drew only nine walks, so he clearly needs work on his plate discipline.

Between his size and some of his mannerisms at the plate, Garcia shows flashes of his hero, Miguel Cabrera. "He has little things he does that you've seen before and you say, ‘That's from Cabrera,'" Ventura said. “I don’t blame him. I would do the same stuff."

Ventura is admittedly growing tired of trying to project what kind of numbers Abreu and Garcia will put up this season. The White Sox play their first Cactus League game Friday against the Dodgers, and it can’t come soon enough.

“I keep hearing, ‘They could possibly do this, or that,'" Ventura said. “I don’t need to be Nostradamus to prove I knew already. Just let them play. They have a lot of positives. That’s why they’re here in the big leagues. We’re gonna give them a whole year to find out."