After finishing dead last in the American League in scoring last year at 3.69 runs per game, the White Sox have been cranking out a league high six per game so far, but on Wednesday night, they lost one of the key contributors to their offense for the remainder of the season. Avisail Garcia suffered a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder, requiring surgery that will shelve him for all of 2014.
Garcia jammed his shoulder during the sixth inning of Wednesday night's game against the Rockies as he attempted to make a diving catch on a shallow line drive off the bat of D.J. LeMahieu. The ball fell out of his glove, and the Rockies ended up tying the game at 4-4 on the play (they won 10-4). Down for several minutes after the play, Garcia was pulled from the game; x-rays were negative with regards to a fracture, separation or dislocation, but an MRI revealed the tear.
It's a tough blow for the 22-year-old rightfielder, who had hit his first two home runs of the season in the White Sox's victory just the night before. Acquired from the Tigers last July 30 in the three-way trade that sent Jake Peavy to Boston and Jose Iglesias to Detroit, Garcia took over the starting rightfield job when Alex Rios was traded to the Rangers ten days later, and had hit .298/.332/.450 in 50 games for Chicago. It's a tough blow for the Pale Hose, too, who were relying on newcomers Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton and Garcia to upgrade an offense that ranked 11th in batting average (.250), 14th in on-base percentage (.303) and 13th in slugging percentage (.379) in the AL despite playing half their games in one of the league's most hitter-friendly parks. The team is currently hiting .287/.347/.457, placing them in the top-three in the league in all slash-stat categories, but those numbers owe plenty to Tuesday's 15-run, 19-hit outburst, which saw Garcia and Abreu each contribute a pair of homers.
The White Sox have recalled Jordan Danks from Triple-A to take Garcia's roster spot. A 27-year-old career .229/.303/.344 hitter in 254 plate appearances for the Sox in 2012-13, he's likely to serve in a backup role, with Dayan Viciedo getting the bulk of the playing time unless the team adds another player from outside the organization. The 25-year-old Viciedo was more of a problem than a solution last year, hitting .265/.304/.426 with 14 homers en route to a 94 OPS+. Just 20 of his 261 major league starts have been in right, compared to 22 of regular leftfielder Alejandro De Aza's 364 starts, so it's an open question as to which of the two will be the go-to guy in right. In the one game that manager Robin Ventura had all three in his lineup as outfielders thus far this year, De Aza played left and Viciedo right. With Iglesias likely to miss the entire season due to shin splints and Garcia now down for the count as well, the Red Sox might consider placing Peavy in bubble wrap for extra protection.