TORONTO -- He’s 10-plus weeks removed from season-ending labrum surgery and Avisail Garcia has impressed the White Sox with the speed of his recovery.
But even though the young outfielder is working hard and has even started to swing the bat, Robin Ventura doesn’t want to adjust any timelines. For now the White Sox are satisfied with the idea that Garcia -- who had surgery on April 15 -- is out for the season and are hopeful he can participate in winter ball in the offseason.
Still, Ventura wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of a return based on how Garcia has looked.
“They say he’s coming along fast,” Ventura said. “But I don’t see him every day. They’re impressed by how he is moving along, but I’m not sitting there thinking he’s going to be here this year. We’ve been going in the direction that he’s probably not going to be back. If he is, that’s great. At this point he looks pretty healthy. If a guy is injured and supposed to be out for the year, you kind of expect him to be on crutches or a wheelchair. But you see him walking around doing stuff and it looks good.”
Garcia continues to take fly balls in the outfield and throw at full strength -- though it wasn’t his throwing arm that was injured. Ventura said Garcia’s also swinging the bat, though not at 100 percent and mostly “for extension and being able to keep his flexibility and strength.”
Back in April, injury expert Will Carroll suggested Garcia would be baseball-ready in six-to-eight months. He also added that players who have had labrum surgery also don’t regain full strength back in that shoulder for up to another year. But, Carroll included a caveat because he’s under trainer Herm Schneider’s care.
“Herm Schneider is a sorcerer,” Carroll said. “Anything that is probably the average, I would probably take the under on anything he gets his hands on.”
Ventura sees plenty of value in it was Garcia healthy enough to return in 2014.
The White Sox are considering winter ball as an alternative just so it’s not 10 months between live pitches for Garcia when he reports to Glendale, Ariz. for spring training next February. The team also has asked Garcia to travel with them to get him involved again. Earlier this month, Garcia said he hadn’t been watching games because it was too difficult.
But playing, as long as there were no health issues, would be even better, of course.
“There’s always value if he’s completely healthy,” Ventura said. “There’s always value in just playing if you’re 100 percent healthy. If there was any risk that you’d be better off just waiting, you’re going to wait. The playing part, you want him to be 100 percent healthy where there’s no risk in him playing. We’re not going to rush it.”
-- After winning 14 of their first 30 road games, the White Sox have dropped 10 of their past 11. The White Sox, who went 26-55 away from U.S. Cellular Field last season, are 15-26 on the road in 2014.
-- Alejandro De Aza is hitting .382/.444/.582 with six doubles and five steals in his last 18 games.
-- Thursday’s 7-0 loss marked the first time since June 15 the White Sox had not held a lead in a game. Fifty of the team’s 80 games this season have been decided by three runs or fewer, including eight in a row before Thursday.