Garcia flying high back with Lakeland

No. 3 Tigers prospect swings hot bat in rehab from heel injury

Avisail Garcia has hits in five straight games for Lakeland. (Mark LoMoglio/

By Robert Emrich / Special to | April 30, 2013 8:25 PM ET

Avisail Garcia looks just as comfortable as he ever did in a Flying Tigers uniform. Unfortunately for the club, he probably won't be with Class A Advanced Lakeland for much longer.

The Tigers' No. 3 prospect was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and fell a double shy of the cycle as the Flying Tigers rallied past the Charlotte Stone Crabs, 7-5, in 10 innings Tuesday.

Garcia homered in his first at-bat in the first inning and bounced into a double play in the third. He tripled and scored in the sixth and singled in the eighth. He drew a walk to open the 10th and eventually crossed the plate with the winning run.

The 21-year-old outfielder bruised his right heel during Spring Training, curbing his chances to make Detroit's Opening Day roster. Garcia joined the Flying Tigers on April 25 for a rehab stint, and he is batting .417 with eight runs scored in six games with the club.

Garcia opened 2012 in Lakeland, batting .289 with 21 extra-base hits and 14 stolen bases in 67 Florida State League games. He earned a promotion to the Double-A Eastern League, where he compiled a .312 average in 55 games for Erie. 

The Venezuala native joined the Tigers late in the season, batting .319 for the American League champions and drove in four runs in 12 postseason games for the club.

Jason King and John Murrian plated a pair of runs and Mike Hernandez added a solo homer for Lakeland.

Melvin Mercedes (1-0) gave up an unearned run on two hits over two innings to earn the win and Will Clinard struck out three in a scoreless 10th to earn the save.

Hector Guevara slugged a three-run homer in the loss for the Stone Crabs.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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