As the month of August heats up literally and figuratively, the White Sox offense and bullpen can look forward to having key pieces of their lineup back in the fold very soon. White Sox outfielder, Avisail Garcia, and relief pitcher, Matt Lindstrom, began their rehab assignments with the Charlotte Knights on Friday, August 1st. Garcia was the starter at designated hitter and Matt Lindstrom worked a full inning in relief.
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Garcia started the assignment with a 2-4 performance at the plate on Friday, with one run scored. Both of Garcia’s hits were singles as the Knights beat the Durham Bulls 4-3. He picked up right where he left off Saturday versus the Gwinnett Braves, finishing 3-5 and increasing his average to .555 through two starts. The real test for Garcia will be returning to the outfield for the first time since injuring his shoulder back in April. Confirmation that his fully healed shoulder can withstand the grind of diving around the outfield will be reassuring, to say the least. If his performance at the plate is any indication, though, he’s way ahead of schedule.
It took Matt Lindstrom a couple batters to find his bearings against Durham. The veteran reliever hit the first batter he faced, Ray Olmedo, with his third pitch. He then issued a free pass to the next man up, quickly working himself into a jam. Thankfully, Matt settled in by coaxing the next batter into a double play ground ball to short. An infield single after the double play scored Olmedo from third base. However, Lindstrom escaped further damage by inducing another grounder to end the inning.
Durham hit three balls into play against Lidstrom, but all three were ground balls that didn’t leave the infield.
In total, Lindstrom allowed one earned run on one hit in one inning, with one walk, and one hit batsmen. I’m not too worried about the control issue in the first part of the inning. Almost any pitcher will have to shake off some rust in their first inning of work after a prolonged absence. I’m most encouraged by the fact that Durham hit three balls into play against Lindstrom, but all three were ground balls that didn’t leave the infield. Now healthy, I expect him to be even more effective for the White Sox during the second half of the season than he was the first half, when he totaled a respectable 3.32 ERA, per SI.com. Hopefully, after Matt Lindstrom makes his way back to the White Sox bullpen, we’ll be seeing a little more of this…
And a lot less of this…
The White Sox are 9-6 following the All-Star break. Adding two impact players like Avisail Garcia and Matt Lindstrom back into the mix will certainly give the team a boost. Remember, the Sox still have seven more games against Detroit, seven against Kansas City, and six more versus the Indians. Climbing out of an eight game hole in the AL Central division isn’t probable, but it isn’t impossible either. If this year’s team has taught us anything, it’s that you #NeverLeaveEarly!