DETROIT— Not all White Sox news on the injury front is bad.
Although they announced on Wednesday that Nate Jones had reconstructive elbow surgery a day earlier, the White Sox have seen enough progress from Avisail Garcia and Matt Lindstrom to send both on a rehab assignment on Friday.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the pair is headed to Triple-A Charlotte for their first game action after several months on the disabled list. While both are on different timelines, Hahn sounds pleased about the prospect of having them back on the field in the near future.
“Certainly Matt has the ability to help solidify the back end of the bullpen, and Avi would be a big piece for us not only in the lineup, but as part of our future plans, and being able to continue the process of getting to where we want to be,” Hahn said. “We’ve missed them both throughout this stretch and, if and when they return to the active roster, we certainly think it’s going to be a nice shot in the arm.”
Garcia, who hasn’t played since he tore the labrum in his left shoulder in April, is expected to start as Charlotte’s designated hitter and work his way into a full-time outfield role. Hahn said this is the equivalent of spring training for Garcia, who originally was expected to miss the rest of the season.
Though Garcia has healed much more quickly than the White Sox expected and he’s ready for the next step, Hahn promises more diligence that they won’t rush his return.
“We suspect it’s going to take a number of reps, a number of at-bats to get back ready for big league action,” Hahn said. “It certainly is done with the hope that the next stage is activation to the major league roster. But at the same time, as we’ve done for the past several months with his rehab, we’re going to respond to how he feels physically and how he is from a symptomatic standpoint and obviously err on the side of caution.”
Out since mid-May with an injury to the tendon in his left ankle, Lindstrom won’t require as much time and could be back in time for the team’s next road trip. White Sox manager Robin Ventura didn’t commit to Lindstrom assuming the closing role when he returns but did say he would pitch in key spot again. Ventura also likes the thought of adding both to the roster.
“We’ll see when (Lindstrom) gets back here how it all lines up,” Ventura said. “It’s possible. Jake has been doing a good job filling in later innings also. We’ll see how it all shapes up when everyone is back.
“They are good players. You get Lindy out there and add to the bullpen and Avi playing, they are good players and we are counting on them a lot even during spring training. You get them back and you feel a little more complete as a roster than you do right now.”