When Avisail Garcia underwent surgery in mid-April to repair a torn labrum and an avulsion fracture in his left shoulder, it was thought that he would be lost for the rest of the season. However, thanks to a quicker-than-expected recovery, the White Sox have activated him from the disabled list for tonight’s game against the Blue Jays.
Acquired from the Tigers last July in the three-team Jake Peavy trade, Garcia began this season as the starting right fielder for the White Sox and was hitting .267 (8-for-30) with two home runs and four RBI in eight games before he injured his shoulder while attempting to make a diving catch on April 8. Full recovery from surgery was expected to take six months, but he managed to begin a minor league rehab assignment earlier this month and hit .340 (17-for-50) with one home run and three doubles over 13 games with Triple-A Charlotte. And now he’s back.
Garcia is just 23 years old and is viewed as an important part of the future for the White Sox, so he’ll now be able to go into the offseason with some peace of mind. Even if he struggles, that’s a valuable thing.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.