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Sox won’t shut down Avisail Garcia despite aching knee

The White Sox don’t plan to put Avisail Garcia on the disabled list despite a right-knee issue that is expected to linger for the rest of the season.

Garcia wants to keep playing and has told the Sox’ coaching staff that he can manage the pain without it affecting his performance. But he failed to run out a fly ball after he heard his knee “click” in the series opener against the Royals, prompting manager Rick Renteria to bench him in the third inning.

Why not shut down Garcia and let him focus on getting right for next year?

“You just manage it,” Renteria said. “It’s not going to get any worse; it won’t get any better. Like most athletes, when you have a nagging issue in the body, you deal the best that you possibly can with it.

Avisail Garcia reacts at the plate during a recent game against the Tigers.

“At some point, if it becomes so problematic that you can’t perform, then obviously we can [react] at that point. But he’s not at that stage right now. The conversation that I had with him [Friday] and the conversations that we have all had about where he’s at, he’s just going to have to deal with it and continue to move forward.”

Garcia, 27, was an All-Star a year ago but has struggled at the plate for much of the season. He’s hitting .234 with 13 home runs and 27 RBI in 61 games. His on-base percentage is .264.

During the offseason, Garcia expects to have an arthroscopic procedure on his knee.

Team first

Omar Narvaez has handled the bulk of the Sox’ catching duties since Welington Castillo drew an 80-game suspension in late May after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

Castillo is eligible to return from his suspension Thursday, which could mean less playing time for Narvaez and fellow catcher Kevan Smith. But Narvaez said he’s happy that Castillo will be back soon.

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“He’s part of the team,” Narvaez said. “We’re all excited, waiting for him to come and play hard like he did when he was here. He’s a good guy, and he’s somebody that we want around here.”

Even if Castillo jumps ahead of him on the depth chart?

“Time just takes care of itself,” Narvaez said. “I’m not competing against him; I’m competing against myself. Whenever I get the opportunity, I’ve just got to take advantage.”

Narvaez has capitalized on his opportunities so far. He’s hitting .276 with five homers, 21 RBI and a .366 on-base percentage to go along with a career-best .422 slugging percentage.

Building strength

Reliever Nate Jones is advancing in his recovery from a muscle strain in his right forearm that has sidelined him for more than two months.

“He’s throwing the ball well, feeling good,” Renteria said. “He continues to progress. Thankfully, no setbacks. As he moves up the food chain and what he’s going to be able to do, we’ll keep you guys informed.”

Jones, 32, has not pitched since June 12. He’s 2-2 with a 2.55 ERA and four saves in 27 relief appearances.