After a scorching start that gave many South Siders hope for his future, White Sox All-Star right fielder Avisail Garcia will hit the DL with a ligament strain in his right thumb. Garcia said the issue has been bothering him for about a week now and, as he continued to play through it, he realized it was an issue that needed to be addressed.
“It’s been like this one week and getting worse, worse, worse,” Garcia said before Wednesday’s Crosstown Classic took the stage at Guaranteed Rate Field. “So, that’s why I decided to stop because my swing is not the same and I don’t want to keep playing like this.”
White Sox GM Rick Hahn made the announcement prior to Wednesday’s game, and said that it should sideline Garcia for “a couple of weeks.” The injury doesn’t look to require surgery at this time.
“At this point there’s no indication whatsoever that he needs a procedure,” Hahn said. “It’s just a matter of letting the thumb heal and getting him back out there.”
Garcia pointed out his recent struggles and attributed them to the lingering injury. “You could see yesterday, 0-for-5,” Garcia said about Tuesday’s matchup at Wrigley Field.
“I’ve been swinging too much with my shoulders. Trying to force it. I don’t have to force it,” Garcia said. “If something’s wrong I have to stop because I want to help my team. I don’t want this to happen. But it happened. That’s baseball. Anything can happen so I’ve just got to take care of this and be back and ready.”
Garcia is coming off the first All-Star selection of his career and a strong campaign in which he was hitting .303/.347/.485 with a career-tying 13 home runs. He was also was sporting the highest wRC+ of his career at 121.
The White Sox will be making a corresponding roster move with Garcia headed for the DL which will be announced either Wednesday evening or Thursday.
The familiar faces in the South Side clubhouse continue to dwindle as the trade deadline nears with the most recent departure coming on Tuesday evening. The White Sox sent reliever Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfield prospect Ryan Cordell.
“We feel we picked up another interesting prospect in Ryan,” Hahn said of the acquisition. “Scouts are very enthusiastic about his ability, his diverse skill set. He’s got some power, some speed, some versatility on the field, can play all three outfield positions. He does have some history of playing some third base as recently as this year. And he’s going to provide us with an intriguing player here in the coming months,” he continued.
Cordell is currently on the disabled list with a back strain that will likely keep him from seeing action right away.
“We’re going to have him examined by our doctors in Chicago, but we feel like this is probably going to take another few weeks to resolve,” Hahn said. “And there’s a chance that we don’t see him in action till closer to instructional league. But in terms of long-term prognosis, this injury should be a non-factor in his development, and we look forward to having him in action.”
Swarzak, who had a spectacular final outing as a member of the White Sox at Wrigley Field on Monday in which he struck out two batters and walked one, was one of the final remaining pieces in the White Sox bullpen which now only has two members that were present on the Opening Day roster.
“Yeah, it’s a little sad, when you see friends and teammates go,” reliever Dan Jennings said of the recent bullpen depletion. “You don’t want to sit here and say it’s the end of the road because we still have a lot of games to play and we’re still going to do our best to win every game.”
Swarzak certainly was deemed a valuable asset this season for a team looking for a closer such as the Brewers. In 48 innings of work this season, Swarzak put up a 2.23 ERA with a nearly-matching 2.34 FIP. He was striking out 9.68 batters per nine, walking just 2.41, and had allowed just two home runs.
A familiar face returned to the clubhouse Wednesday as reliever Jake Petricka was activated from the disabled list to help shore up the White Sox bullpen. Petricka has been on the DL since June 29 with a right elbow strain.
“It has been a mental grind especially with the hip injury last year,” Petricka said of his string of injuries. “So, if anything, I’ve just learned a lot more about myself off the field then on the field. And now it’s time to re-establish myself on the field.”
Petricka was not scored on over five outings during his rehab assignment at Triple A Charlotte. “It felt really good. A lot better command and just everything was very good,” Petricka said of his rehab assignment.
Manager Rick Renteria noted that he will be using Petricka in later innings to help fill the gap left by the departure of Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson and now Swarzak.
“Obviously, Petricka has been used in the past in many different roles from kind of a fireman role to a setup to closer,” Renteria said. “So we’re just going to kinda slot these guys where we think we can use them. Obviously everybody is available to us in different situations, we have an opportunity right now to show what they’re capable of doing.”