Avisail Garcia has a torn labrum in his left shoulder and will miss the rest of the 2014 season. This is a disappointing injury, obviously, as Garcia is a promising young player who has been talked about as a building block for the future and a possible superstar for the White Sox. Garcia is only 22 years old, so if he can recover fully from the injury, his future promise will hopefully not be impacted too greatly. But what does his injury mean for the rest of the team this season?
Garcia’s replacement on the active roster, Jordan Danks, is still a bit of an unknown commodity. John Danks‘ younger brother hit a blistering .333/.378/.738 with 5 homers in 42 at bats this spring. Those numbers far outshine any of his previous body of work, but could they be a result of changes made with new hitting coach Todd Steverson? Danks has always been considered a good athlete with power potential, and now, at 27 years old, he will have an opportunity for some playing time to show whether he is more than a backup OF.
More immediately, this means Robin Ventura‘s most likely starting outfield will feature Alejandro De Aza in LF, Adam Eaton remaining in CF, and Dayan Viciedo taking over RF. Jordan Danks will mix in against tougher right handed pitchers to spell Viciedo, but any OF platoon is probably out with the loss of Garcia. Leury Garcia can also handle outfield duty, and may shift to more of a backup outfielder than infielder when Gordon Beckham returns from injury.
Previous rumblings about a potential trade of either De Aza or Viciedo for more pitching are probably no longer accurate, considering the White Sox’ lack of outfield depth in the high minors. Their top ten prospects entering the season included two outfielders: Courtney Hawkins, who isn’t near major league ready, and Trayce Thompson, who probably won’t make the jump from AA Birmingham after a disappointing 2013 unless he really picks up the pace this year.
On the roster for AAA Charlotte are Jared Mitchell and Blake Tekotte. Mitchell has not shown any recent evidence that he will be a major league hitter, and Tekotte is a bench option who spent 20 games with the White Sox in 2013.
White Sox fans have to hope that Avisail Garcia’s torn left labrum does not have a lasting effect on his career. There are some real risks with athletes returning to normal after shoulder surgeries, but the fact that Garcia hurt his non-throwing arm provides hope for a full recovery.