Avisail to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery
White Sox outfielder injured trying to make diving catch; Jordan Danks recalled
CHICAGO -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn didn't go very deep into Thursday's session with the media before expressing the painful effect Avisail Garcia's torn labrum in his left shoulder has had on the organization.
"Obviously, it's lousy," said Hahn in his opening statement from his pregame conversation. "It stinks for the kid, who is crushed right now, who is very disappointed. He was hoping this was going to be a temporary thing, but obviously understands the medical situation and the realities in front of us and what they are. He's taking it very hard.
"It stinks for White Sox fans who are going to be deprived of the opportunity of seeing this kid on a daily basis this year. It's really just one of the crueler realties of sports."
Garcia, 22, was placed on the 15-day disabled list and is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery within the next week. The injury happened when Garcia attempted to make a diving catch of DJ LeMahieu's sinking liner in the sixth inning of Wednesday's series-finale loss to the Rockies in Colorado.
X-rays on Wednesday at Coors Field were negative. An MRI this morning at Rush University Medical Center revealed the torn labrum.
Since being acquired from Detroit on July 30, 2013 as part of a three-team trade that sent right-hander Jake Peavy to Boston and began the White Sox reshaping process, Garcia has hit .298 with seven home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games with the White Sox. Garcia was batting .267 with two homers, four RBIs and six runs scored in eight games this season, including his first career multihomer game on Tuesday against the Rockies.
A preliminary read on Garcia's injury, before doctors perform the surgery, is that he should be without restrictions when the team arrives in Glendale, Ariz., for Spring Training 2015. Garcia has 321 career at-bats, so he certainly is not a novice in regards to Major League experience, but this injury still is far from ideal for his development at such a formative stage.
"We would rather have him out there playing on an everyday basis here in Chicago and continuing to show some of the progress he's shown as recently as the last few days in Colorado," Hahn said of Garcia. "But it's not the kind of thing he can't come back from; it's not the kind of thing that he's going to have lingering effects on his ability or his ceiling. It's just an unfortunate development that's pushed him back a year in terms of being an everyday guy in Chicago."
"You gotta guy that is 22 years old that is going to miss the whole season, but he's also played in playoff [games] with the Tigers, so his experience level is pretty high on that level," White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson said. "It's just a matter of when you don't get the repetitions and the at-bats of the full season, saying, 'What did I do over 600,' as compared to 100 or 75 or whatever at-bats, it's not an uncertainty of what you can do up here, but you still have to go through that process. He was preparing, and it's unfortunate this happened."
Jordan Danks was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to take Garcia's roster spot. Danks, 27, was hitting .182 with one homer and four RBIs over six games with Charlotte this season, but he proved his Major League readiness by hitting .333 with a team-high five homers and 10 RBIs over 20 Cactus League games this past Spring Training.
Danks, considered the best defensive outfielder in the organization, takes over as the fourth outfielder, with Alejandro De Aza settling in left field and Dayan Viciedo moving to right. Viciedo has played two games in right this season and 23 for his career, and he's getting the chance to show if he's part of the White Sox future plans by continuing to have a more selective approach at the plate.
"Now the playing time is there," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Viciedo. "He has an opportunity to take advantage of it."
"I'm just going to play the way I play all the time and I'm going to continue to do the adjustments that I've been trying to do," said Viciedo through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "But there's nothing really that I feel like I have to come in and prove."
Hahn acknowledged that a trade always is a possibility to fill the void created by Garcia's injury, but the White Sox will look to their own roster first. They also won't call up any prospect within the organization before his proper time to get a quick fix in Garcia's absence.
That absence is a tough one for the White Sox in '14, but it doesn't take away the long-term significance for Garcia in the franchise's big picture.
"One thing, even in our disappointment, that's important not to lose sight of, is the fact Avi remains with us for the next five seasons," Hahn said. "This kid still has a very bright future.
"He's going to be 23 years old, I think, in Spring Training next year, and turn 24 next season and be a White Sox for at least the next five seasons after that. His future remains bright. It's a lousy day and a setback, but part of the reality of the business we've chosen."