MLB All-Star Game

Still sore, Avisail Garcia looks for strong finish to breakout campaign

Still sore, Avisail Garcia looks for strong finish to breakout campaign

Avisail Garcia wants nothing more than to finish his breakout campaign with a flourish. He doesn’t intend to let his sore fingers get in the way, either.

If Thursday’s performance is any indication, Garcia has done a good job managing the situation. The White Sox outfielder went 5-for-6 with a home run and a career-high seven RBIs in a 17-7 victory at the Detroit Tigers. The effort was yet another in a string of good ones for the All-Star, who has been on a tear since he returned from the disabled list with a strained ligament in his right thumb in early August.

“I’m just trying to deal with it,” Garcia said on Wednesday. “It’s not easy, but I’ve got to play. I’ve got to help my team to win and trying to do my best. The season is almost done so I’ve got to continue to play hard and trying to do my best and trying to stay on the field.”

Garcia suffered a series of injuries right before the All-Star break, which brought his doubters back in full force as it appeared as if he was falling back to earth after a fantastic start.

First was the knee injury he suffered June 28 against the Yankees that kept him out of the lineup until July 4. The day after he returned, Garcia suffered the first of two finger injuries, the latter of which landed him on the DL from July 26-Aug. 7. While Garcia was in good enough shape to appear in the All-Star Game and play in center field, he hit .216/.259/.333 with two home runs and three RBIs in 54 plate appearances in July.

The right fielder wore a guard to protect his hand while on the DL and waited for the swelling in his fingers to subside so he could return to action.

While Garcia’s reached a manageable state, he’s still not pain free.

But it hasn’t affected his play. Including Thursday’s victory, Garcia is hitting .413/.464/.571 with four home runs and 23 RBIs in 140 plate appearances since he returned.

“There is a lot to it,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Obviously you’re holding the handle of the bat in your hand. If you’re uncomfortable it’s very difficult to put in a pretty good swing. He worked through it, he battled through it. He’s still dealing with it, but it’s in such a minimal place in terms of discomfort. But he’s still playing and being able to do what he needs to.”

Garcia said he’s receiving treatment on his fingers every day with hot and cold water. Thursday’s effort against his former team is likely to have him feeling even better.

[MORE: Tim Anderson got his swag back] 

Garcia singled in the first inning and walked in the third. He singled in two runs in the fourth and blasted a three-run homer -- his 17th -- to right in the sixth inning. He added RBI singles in the seventh and eighth innings to become the first White Sox player with at least six RBIs in a game twice in the same season since Tadahito Iguchi in 2006.

Overall, Garcia is hitting .333/.380/.509 with 17 home runs and 77 RBIs in 503 plate appearances this season and a 137 wRC+.

"It’s not been easy but I’m just trying to be on the field every day,” Garcia said. “You’ve just keep your head up and trying to do my job and trying to do my best and trying to help my team win.”

Chris Sale: It's about time Avisail Garcia became an All-Star

Chris Sale: It's about time Avisail Garcia became an All-Star

MIAMI — Chris Sale echoed what everyone else was thinking when he encountered Avisail Garcia at the All-Star Game this week: We’ve been expecting you.

The White Sox outfielder and his former teammate reunited during this week’s All-Star festivities at Marlins Park. The pair posed for a picture in the American League clubhouse on Monday and also caught up on old times during the two-plus day event:

My boy Chris 🙏🏻⭐️🙏🏻 #allstargame2017⭐️ #whitesox #bleseed #greatful #graciasdios

A post shared by Avisail Garcia 💎🇻🇪 (@avisailgarcia16) on

Now pitching for the Boston Red Sox, Sale made his sixth All-Star appearance, including his first for his new team. Sale’s love for the All-Star festivities was on display again Tuesday as he returned to the bench after he exited the exhibition and stayed with teammates to the final pitch. One of the things that had Sale most excited was to share the event with Garcia, who made his first All-Star appearance.

“It was awesome,” Sale said. “It's been a long time coming. I think we all know the kind of player and athlete he is. But he was one of the first people I saw when I came in, I gave him a big hug, we took a picture together. I told him, Iit's about time.' I think you'll see him at a few more of these in the future.”

Garcia played four innings in center field and batted twice, finishing 0-for-2. One of those trips included a laser off the bat at 113 mph, the hardest exit velocity produced in the contest.

Sale pitched two scoreless innings as he made the start for the AL in a second straight Midsummer Classic.

Carpe diem: White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia made most of All-Star experience

Carpe diem: White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia made most of All-Star experience

MIAMI — Avisail Garcia most definitely seized his first All-Star Game experience.

The only way the White Sox outfielder may have had a more enjoyable time at Tuesday’s exhibition game would be if the Brad Hand pitch he obliterated in the seventh inning found some grass. But even a bit of misfortune couldn’t ruin the moment for Garcia, who experienced a little bit of everything in the American League’s 2-1 victory over the National League in 10 innings at Marlins Park.

Though it resulted in a line drive out, Garcia’s at-bat against the San Diego relief pitcher produced the hardest exit velocity of the entire exhibition. Garcia also spent four innings playing in center field of all positions. And he was right in the middle of the celebration after Robinson Cano blasted a go-ahead home run off Cubs reliever Wade Davis in the top of the 10th inning.

“It’s a great experience,” Garcia said. “Makes you work hard. I just thank God for the opportunity. I enjoyed this day like the last day of my life.”

Garcia finished the contest 0-for-2. He struck out with the winning run on third base in the ninth inning against Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen. But his earlier plate appearance displayed the same consistent approach that got him to Miami.

Despite a few “little butterflies,” Garcia took a close 1-2 slider for a ball before he ripped a four-seam fastball for a screaming line drive to left. The ball exited Garcia’s bat at 113 mph and had a hit probability of 87 percent, but still found the glove of Michael Conforto for an out. 

Garcia entered the contest in the bottom of the sixth as a defensive replacement in center field, a position he hadn’t played since 2013. Acting AL manager Brad Mills asked Garcia if he had any issues with the call and received no objection.

“I said whatever you want,” Garcia said. “I’m going to have fun and try to do my job and play hard.”

“I liked it.”

Garcia loved greeting Cano in the AL dugout with a number of teammates after the Seattle second baseman lined the game-winning homer off Davis to start the 10th inning. Now that he’s been here, Garcia hopes to make participation in the Midsummer Classic an annual event.

“It means a lot,” Garcia said. “This opportunity for me and my career, I’ll take it. Just thank God for the opportunity.

“You always want to come here and win the game and do something good. That happened today.”