Garcia to get a chance playing left field

Garcia to get a chance playing left field

CHICAGO -- The Tigers left U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night with manager Jim Leyland talking about starting Delmon Young in left field, Avisail Garcia in right and Brennan Boesch at designated hitter. On Thursday he changed plans, and Garcia was scheduled to get his first start in left field as a professional before rains postponed the game.

Short-term, putting Garcia in left keeps Young at DH. It's a benefit for both defensive and offensive reasons, since it lessens the chances of aggravating the tight hamstring Young has quietly been playing through. Longer-term, though it's not a priority quite yet, it might be the first step toward finding a way to fit Garcia and fellow prospect Nick Castellanos in the same outfield someday soon.

Garcia came up through the Tigers system primarily as a right fielder, then moved to center at Double-A Erie at midseason when Castellanos moved to right. The Tigers called up Garcia at the end of August to play in right field against left-handed pitchers.

First-base coach Tom Brookens, who's in charge of outfield defense, has had Garcia working on throws from left field.

"I'm a believer that anybody that can play right field, can play left field," Brookens said. "There's no doubt that it's different. There's a little bit of adjustment."

On Thursday morning, Leyland talked on the phone with assistant general manager Al Avila, whose responsibilities include the farm system. The organizational opinion is that Garcia's athleticism should allow him to handle left just fine.

"Let me put it this way: I'd much [rather] put Garcia in left than move Boesch over to left for a game," Leyland said. "I think he'll be fine. Fly balls are fly balls."

Said Brookens: "He's got good instincts. He works at it."