Thought to be out for season, Avisail Garcia off to hot start in minors

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After collecting three hits Saturday, Avisail Garcia, once essentially ruled out for the season, is 5-for-9 on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte.

Garcia suffered a torn labrum and an avulsion fracture in his left shoulder attempting a diving catch in just his eighth game of the season on April 9. The White Sox thought he was out for the year, but he’s made quick progress, and while he has been DHing so far on his rehab assignment, he’s tested his shoulder by making throws and is expected to return to the outfield soon.

The 23-year-old Garcia has hit .298/.332/.450 with seven homers in 50 games for the White Sox since coming over from Detroit in last year’s three-team Jake Peavy-Jose Iglesias deal. He probably won’t be a full-time player after returning this season, but he is penciled in as the team’s long-term right fielder.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.