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The White Sox got both of their Garcias back.
Avisail Garcia and Leury Garcia returned from the disabled list this morning after successful rehab stints at Charlotte. The former took the place of Trayce Thompson, who was designated for assignment, and the latter replaced Jose Rondon, who was optioned to Charlotte.
Avi Garcia pulled his hamstring on April 23 in a 10-4 victory over Seattle, and the Sox have only hit double-digits in the run column once since. Leury Garcia sprained his knee a month later sliding into third while stealing a base.
We’ve made a big deal about Avisail Garcia’s absence, mostly because it turned into a whole bunch of playing time for Thompson, who did next to nothing with it. Thompson hit .116/.163/.215 over 130 plate appearances, setting White Sox records for the lowest batting average and on-base percentage for any non-pitcher who received 100 plate appearances in a season — and he received 30 more than that. Three homers allowed him to avoid having the worst OPS ever — that goes to Gus Dundon, who was part of the Hitless Wonders back in 1906. At least one of them was a walk-off, and it made a star of Yolmer Sanchez.
(Adjust for era, though, and Dundon has the superior OPS+ by a score of 18 to 3.)
But Leury Garcia’s absence killed the bench flexibility. When the White Sox started Daniel Palka at DH, for instance, that meant the Sox had all three of their other outfielders on the field, making it difficult for Rick Renteria to pinch-hit for Thompson or Adam Engel or Charlie Tilson, lest Sanchez have to play out of position. Garcia had a fine month before the injury, and was 9-for-9 stealing bases as well.
That’s not necessarily an insult to Rondon, who showed he can play a little by hitting .245/.288/.490 over 52 plate appearances in Garcia’s absence. He made a marked improvement on his first stint in the majors two years ago with San Diego, so the Sox have a little depth there. Rondon just isn’t nearly as useful of an option on a short bench when the other three infielders are firmly rooted in their starting spots.
Considering the White Sox were 5-14 the last time both Garcia were healthy, one can’t say they’ll be any less of a clown car. At least they’ll have more major league options to go around.