A rough week for former White Sox

For all his readily apparent strength, Avisail García has never hit 20 homers in a season. Whenever he appeared to conquer his flat swing plane, a muscle strain would show up to hamper his progress.

That remains the case, even in Tampa. His power resurfaced during the White Sox series in mid-July and stuck around for the next few weeks, and he belted five homers over 18 games to put him at 17 with a month and a half remaining in the season …

… only to see an oblique issue force him to the injured list earlier in the week. As he sits on the sidelines, he finds himself in a familiar neighborhood:

  • 2017: 18 homers over 136 games
  • 2018: 19 homers over 93 games
  • 2019: 17 homers over 101 games

He’s supposed to miss the minimum of time, but we’ve seen him take time to shake the aftereffects of a strain.

I’m neither rooting for nor against him in this quest, more observing nature. Despite his shortcomings, I was always fascinated by his ongoing struggle to shape his tools into skills, and he was the one guy who semi-rewarded the White Sox for their generosity with plate appearances. His career has been one spent nearly entirely on the verge.

On the subject of other team’s injury concerns worth monitoring:

Fernando Tatis Jr.: The Rookie of the Year frontrunner is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a stress reaction in his back that he escalated with a swing on Tuesday. He hit .317/.379/.590 over his first dazzling 84 MLB games, and his season would have approached 8 WAR if he were able to see it all the way through.

The question The Athletic’s Dennis Lin ponders is whether Tatis is going to be somebody who struggles staying healthy. He suffered a fracture of his thumb on a slide in 2018, and missed a month with a hamstring strain earlier in the year. Back injuries have a wider array of future outcomes:

More clarity will have to wait until Tatis returns to major-league action. In the meantime, he might learn more than he ever cared to about an injury that, handled improperly, could lower the ceiling on his career.

“What he has is not necessarily overly serious for the future,” Padres manager Andy Green told reporters Friday in Philadelphia. “From what doctors have said, this is a common-usage injury at times in guys who are 15 to 24 years of age. He’s kind of going through that right now, and we expect him to make a full recovery.”

Chris Sale: Unlike other players who seemed to settle for contract extensions out of fear of the free agent market, Sale seemed to choose wisely. Shoulder issues limited him to 158 regular-season inning, and even with a full postseason, he only ended up with 173, well short of his usual workload.

This year bore out his logic with a different body part. He went on the injured list on Friday with elbow inflammation severe enough to warrant a consultation with Dr. James Andrews, and now the Boston media is second-guessing Boston’s front office:

There wasn’t any mystery to what drove the Red Sox to prioritize inking the ace. Red Sox principal owner John Henry tipped his hand during spring training when admitting he thought the team “blew” the Jon Lester negotiations when that lefty was heading into his contract year in 2014, and Henry was intent on not letting it happen again. Hence, the aggressive move on Sale.

The issue here is that even with all the admirable qualities Sale brought to the table there was the reality that he was coming off a season that included a shoulder issue. Clearly, everything checked out from the medical side of things before pen was put to paper, but there wasn’t any hard proof that the same pitcher was going to emerge from the discombobulated 2018 season. Simply put they hadn’t seen this version of Sale pitch.

Regardless of whether he needs surgery, Sale’s season is already his worst. He’s 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA over 147⅓ innings, and while the strikeout rate remains immaculate, it’s about the only thing that’s consistent about him in 2019. He’s been more hittable than ever, especially in terms of homers. Sale remains cagey as ever when it comes to discussing his own health issues, but he might not be able to work around this one:

* * * * * * * * *

The South Side Sox/Sox Machine community dealt with its own bad news this weekend. Sarah, who went northsiderepresent, passed away this weekend. If you didn’t see it on the side rail, Billy shared an SSS post from Uribe Down about the matter.

People like Billy and UD knew Sarah better than I did, but what I knew, I liked. Whatever reservations she had about joining SSS she overcame, and she ended up being a vital member of the community. She was a regular at meetups, sanctioned and otherwise. She had a neverending supply of recommendations at the ready, whether we’re talking about books/music/theater, or just the SBN recs that made comments go green. She loved the White Sox and White Sox fans, and it showed.

Her generosity made her a glue for SSS, and I hope she got as much out of the community as she gave to it. A gathering is planned Monday night at The Flat Iron, 1565 N. Milwaukee in Chicago from 4 to 9 p.m.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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evenyoudorn

That’s awful news about nsr. I think my short string of meetups happened to match up with her appearances, luckily for me. She was incredibly sweet and I loved her sense of humor. Don’t have the SBN account anymore but I send my regrets to her good friends over there.

Willardmarshall

A guy who’s had repeated muscle strains seems prone to have more muscle strains… But a guy who’s had thumb, back and hamstring injuries — what exactly is he prone to? Is he exhibiting what an earlier generation might’ve diagnosed as a weak constitution?

billyok

Tomorrow (Monday) night, The Flat Iron (1565 N. Milwaukee), 4-9 pm, we’ll be gathering to celebrate nsr. All welcome. 

jorgefabregas

RIP NSR. Seemed very friendly in person and was a good SSS commenter.

Does anyone know if Mike Moriarty, who was a White Sox fan involved in Effectively Wild-related stuff and passed away this spring, was involved in the White Sox blog commentariat?

metasox

Though he already missed most of the season, you can toss David Robertson undergoing TJ onto the list

Patrick Nolan

Wow, I’m shook to hear about nsr. That is incredibly sad. RIP Sarah.