Nearly nine weeks after injuring his right hamstring while running to first base, Avisail Garcia returned to the White Sox’ lineup. The right fielder started in an 11-2 loss in the opening game of Friday’s doubleheader against the Athletics at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Leury Garcia, who’d been on the disabled list since May 24 with a sprained left knee, started the game in left field. Both players came off rehab assignments at Class AAA Charlotte.
Avisail Garcia, a 2017 All-Star who turned 27 last week, hit .360 with three homers and three doubles in seven games with Charlotte after a slow start to the big-league season and a longer-than-expected DL stint.
“I have no pain in my body right now,” he said. “I feel great — great and focused and trying to compete every single day.”
After a 5-14 start with Avisail Garcia, the Sox went 19-35 without him. He said he watched all the games and kept in regular contact with first baseman Jose Abreu.
“It’s hard,” he said. “I don’t like to get hurt, and I like to play every single day. I like to compete. I like to help my team. But it’s hard. I’ve just got to try to stay healthy and try to do my best every day.”
He led off the sixth inning with his first hit since April, an infield single off A’s starter Sean Manaea. Leury Garcia singled in each of his first two at-bats.
“I’m excited and happy because Avi is back,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “To have the opportunity to speak with him about offense, about hitting, it’s good. And he’s a guy who makes us better as a team.”
Neither Garcia was in the lineup for the second game of the doubleheader. Sox manager Rick Renteria said both players will move into the weekend with no restrictions on their playing time.
To make room for both Garcias, the Sox designated outfielder Trayce Thompson for assignment and optioned infielder Jose Rondon to Charlotte. They also added pitcher Thyago Vieira from Charlotte to be the 26th man on the active roster for the second game of the doubleheader.
Close to home
Both pitchers who started for the A’s on Friday have local connections. Game 1 starter and winner Manaea (7-6), who no-hit the Red Sox in April, played his final season of high school baseball in Merrillville, Indiana. Game 2 starter Chris Bassitt made his major-league debut with the White Sox in 2014 and was part of the trade with the A’s for pitcher Jeff Samardzija after that season.
The Sox’ clubhouse had brand-new World Cup jerseys as far as the eye could see Friday morning. Reliever Hector Santiago ordered them all online — about 50 in all, representing the national teams of at least 15 countries — and presented them to his teammates as first-come, first-served gifts.