Avisail Garcia is out for the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder. And while that’s the furthest thing from good news, there’s something to be somewhat positive about as the outfielder embarks on a long rehab process.
There are players in his clubhouse who have been there before.
All Garcia needs to do is walk a few lockers down, to either his left or right, to find a teammate who has his own experiences getting knocked out for a season, being sidelined for months while working back to the big leagues.
“We had two separate things, but shoulder’s tough. Elbow you rehab one angle. Shoulder you’ve got to rehab the whole thing,” White Sox pitcher John Danks said. “There are some long days in there. Basically, just try to stay as positive as you can, which is a lot easier said than done. It’s not going to feel better overnight, you’re going to have good days and bad. Eventually it will get better. You’ve just got to put in the work. It’s pretty monotonous and boring, but it’s all good.”
Danks had his own shoulder injury to deal with the past two seasons. He pitched just nine games during the 2012 season and didn’t return to the mound until May 24 of last year. The process was an arduous one for him. But it’s one he’d like to share with Garcia.
“I’d certainly love to sit down and help him a little bit,” Danks said. “It was good to see him today. You can’t help but feel sorry for him. He’s trying hard. He’s young but very good, and it not only hurts us this year but it’s a year less he’s going to get to just keep improving. But I have no doubts he’ll be better when it’s all said and done.”
Even more relatable to Garcia’s plight might be the one of Felipe Paulino, the pitcher in his first year with the White Sox who missed the majority of the 2012 season and the entirety of the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Sitting out a year was just part of Paulino’s journey back to the mound, and he certainly felt for Garcia.
“It’s pretty bad, I know what’s going on,” Paulino said. “We’re sorry, and it’s tough. I think everybody’s surprised with that. We try to give support for him. He’s young, pretty young, and I think he’s in good hands here. We believe, like today, we came in with a better attitude today. He’s going to be OK. We’re just supporting him. He’s going to be back. He’s going to be working hard. At that age, it’s going to be OK for him.
“I would talk to him. I would explain, a little bit, how my case happened, too. I’ve been out a year and a half, out of baseball because of recovery. The first thing I’d tell him is, ‘Just try to enjoy time with your family as much as you can. I think that’s the best support you can have because it’s going to be a long rehab. Just give the time to settle your mind. You’re going to be all right. It’s going to be long. Just enjoy everything you can with your family. Don’t put pressure on yourself because this is how it’s going to be. … I think everything’s going to be OK. Just follow everything they want you to do. Just do your thing, don’t rush.’ And after that? He’s a good guy, he listens.”
Danks shared Paulino’s assessment that family and teammates are extremely important in these situations. And he knew that there would be plenty of support coming Garcia’s way.
“If it wasn’t for the people in my corner, between teammates, coaches, trainers and my family, I don’t know that I’d have made it, truthfully,” Danks said. “There was some days where it was tough. And certainly I was having people coming out and seeing me all the time and making sure I’m doing OK. But you certainly need people in your corner. I know he’s got 25 guys in here, all the staff here. We’re going to do what we can to help him.”