White Sox manager Rick Renteria benched Avisail Garcia after the outfielder failed to run out a ground ball in the top of the first inning of Wednesday’s Cactus League game against the Brewers, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
After the game, Garcia took full responsibility. He said, “One hundred percent. I always understand Ricky. I didn’t run, it’s my fault.” He added context, saying, “I didn’t see the ball. And then I saw it and was surprised, and I was like ‘damn.’ That’s when I run. Everyone makes mistakes. You have to be honest with yourself. You can’t lie to yourself. I didn’t run, they take me out, that’s it.”
Van Schouwen mentions in his article that Renteria is a stickler for running out ground balls. Cody Asche was pulled from a game last season in Kansas City when he didn’t run out a dropped third strike.
Garcia, 26, had a breakout season for the White Sox last year, batting .330/.380/.506 with 18 home runs, 80 RBI, and 75 runs scored in 561 plate appearances. It would be a shame if Garcia were to suffer an injury like a pulled hamstring running out a batted ball that is an out 99 percent of the time, especially in a meaningless spring training game. Players who don’t hustle are smart. Work smarter, not harder.