Leury Garcia misses fifth straight start; Sox jump on Blue Jays
TORONTO — Center fielder Leury Garcia was a late scratch with a sore left hand Friday, missing his fifth consecutive start, but it didn’t hurt the White Sox one bit.
Recent waiver claim Alen Hanson stepped in to play center for the second time in his pro career and provided a spark as the leadoff man with three singles, a walk, a stolen base, three runs and an RBI against the Blue Jays.
Manager Rick Renteria said Hanson was “all in” about playing center — his only other game there was in Class AAA in the Pirates’ system last season — and looked “pretty comfortable” working there before the game.
“I didn’t feel 100 percent, but I thought I could get in a swing,’’ said Garcia, having the best year of his career with a .298 average, six home runs and 22 RBI, including a pinch sacrifice fly Thursday. “But [Friday], there was a little swelling again.’’
Hanson had played left and right in Class AAA last season, but the Sox want a look at the former top-100 prospect in center.
“We want him to be able to play that position,’’ Renteria said. “It gives us flexibility.’’
An inside job
It seems like everything first baseman Jose Abreu has hit in the last month and a half has been on the nose. He says the formula has been basic: Stay inside the ball and make good contact.
Do that, “and the ball will take care of itself,’’ Abreu said. “I’m just trying to put good swings on the ball, and the results are going to come.’’
Abreu, who hit a two-run triple off the right-field wall in the Sox’ four-run first inning against right-hander Joe Biagini and doubled in another run in the second, was 11-for-24 in his previous six games going into the series opener against the Jays. In his previous 48 games, he was batting .326/.383/.544 with 10 homers, 31 RBI and a .927 OPS.
The back story
It was last April in Toronto when Kevan Smith, a couple of hours before he was set to make his major-league debut as the starting catcher, had his back lock up during the Sox’ pregame stretch. The debut would have to wait till Sept. 1.
“I went right into a stretch that I did completely wrong,’’ Smith recalled, “and it just locked up. It was one of those things I couldn’t explain.’’
Smith will get that elusive start in Toronto before the weekend series is over. Sharing the catching load with Omar Narvaez with Geovany Soto (elbow) on the disabled list, he has started 22 games. He was batting .315 with a homer, six doubles and seven RBI in his last 18 games.
“I know I can play here,’’ he said.
Rodon to make third start
Left-hander Carlos Rodon, on the disabled list since Opening Day with bursitis in his left biceps, is scheduled to make his third rehab start Saturday for Class AAA Charlotte against Indianapolis.
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