White Sox’ Leury Garcia accepts manager’s criticism for not running hard on bunt

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Leury Garcia was yanked from a game after not running hard enough on a bunt for White Sox manager Rick Renteria’s liking. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Say this much for Leury Garcia: He owned it.

Two days after being yanked from a game by White Sox manager Rick Renteria for failing to run down the first-base line like his pants were on fire, Garcia offered a sheepish smile and promised it wouldn’t happen again.

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“He wants everybody to play hard, give a good effort,” Garcia said. “I didn’t do it, so he took me out. You learn every day. It’s not going to happen anymore.”

The Sox seemingly were on their way to a victory over the Pirates on Wednesday when, with no one on base in the seventh inning of a 4-2 game, Garcia attempted to bunt for a hit. The ball bounced directly to first baseman Josh Bell, who gloved it next to the bag.

Nowhere on this planet, nor on any other, did Garcia have a chance to beat out the play for a hit. Replays show him downshifting approximately halfway down the line, by which point the play was all but over, but that wasn’t the crux of the matter in Renteria’s mind.

“You come out of the box, you still give an effort going all the way down the line,” Renteria said. “Right, wrong or indifferent, we’re trying to establish a certain way to go about doing our business. I know that I don’t like it when I see guys not coming out of the box hustling.”

The Sox eventually blew a three-run ninth-inning lead and lost 6-5 — hardly Garcia’s fault, though the team’s fifth straight defeat and ninth in 10 games could only have left him feeling worse.

“He told me why he took me out, and I understood and [said], ‘Yeah, that was right,’ ” Garcia said. “No, I don’t think I would have been safe. But I can run a little bit harder.”

Avi getting closer

Seventeen days after going on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, right fielder Avisail Garcia ran fairly hard in the outfield during pregame activities at Wrigley Field. That checked another item off the list — well, sort of — for Garcia, who took live batting practice earlier in the week.

It’s clear Garcia still has a ways to go before he’ll return to the Sox lineup.

“He’s feeling good,” Renteria said. “We’re going to still put him through some running, and he’s getting closer.”

The next key milestone likely will be a rehab assignment. Given how long Garcia has been on the shelf, expect his stint in the minors to last longer than a couple of days.

Pittsburgh feeler

Yoan Moncada has been out since May 4 with tightness in his left hamstring. After working up a sweat before Friday’s game, the second baseman indicated he hopes to return to the lineup when the Sox open a two-game series in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

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