Avisail Garcia’s debut got a rave review from his manager.
In his return to the lineup after four months, Garcia doubled and singled in four at-bats and drove in a run on Saturday night.
The White Sox outfielder, who was thought to have been lost for the season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, is starting again on Sunday and will hit fifth. After he hit .340 in 50 at-bats on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte, Garcia easily could have had two doubles in his first game back in the majors.
“He looked great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think his first at-bat, he probably thought he was still in a simulated game, but other than that, it was childlike in a lot of ways with just being able to play. He was hustling all over the place. You can see the talent that he has being big and strong, and hitting balls off the fence. Even though that ball was out there and he wasn’t really out of the box, he still turns it into a double. So you can see his speed, and it’s unique. It’s unique to be that big and that fast. He has a good arm and good instincts in the outfield.”
Garcia injured his shoulder diving for a fly ball on April 9 and had surgery that was expected to sideline him for 6-8 months the following week. But by mid-June, Garcia rejoined the White Sox and started exhibiting signs of great progress as he began to work in the outfield and hit in the cage. Within a few weeks, Garcia started taking live batting practice. Throughout the experience, Garcia has displayed exuberance, which Ventura thinks is a benefit for his club, especially considering it’s the final stretch of the regular season.
“You realize how important it is to you and to not take it for granted at all,” Ventura said. “It’s a message I think everybody sees when they see a guy like Avi come back when you come out here and compete every day. It’s a privilege to be able to do that. I think guys get to see that first hand when you get a guy like Avi.”
If he’s ready, Ventura wants Rodon
Carlos Rodon will make his debut at Charlotte on Tuesday night after a Saturday promotion from Winston-Salem. Were the first-round pick to be ready, say by September, Ventura would welcome him with open arms.
Rodon struck out 15 batters in 9 2/3 innings at Winston-Salem with a 1.96 ERA. The left-hander looked so good early on that Sox director of player development Nick Capra said Rodon “almost looks like he’s out of place” at Single-A.
“If he’s doing well enough to come up here, yeah,” Ventura said. “We’re trying to help us win. If he’s available and he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go. I would like to see it but he’s got to be ready to go.
“(Skipping Double-A) does say something. It says he must be doing pretty good.”
Ventura, who previously said there’s an above average chance Rodon would be promoted this season, said the club hasn’t discussed whether or not the pitcher would be a starter or reliever. Rodon will make his third consecutive start on Tuesday.
-- Ventura said he received an undisclosed fine for Wednesday’s dirt-kicking outburst in San Francisco following a controversial call that led to his ejection.
-- Prospect Erik Johnson was placed on the disabled list at Charlotte on Saturday with shoulder fatigue. All other tests were normal, the club said. Johnson went a combined 6-8 with a 6.68 ERA in 25 starts this season between Charlotte and the White Sox. He walked 69 batters and struck out 81 in 129 1/3 innings.
-- Ventura said ideally he’d have two left-handed relievers in the bullpen next season.