8/13/2014 12:25 A.M. ET
Avisail appears close to big league return
By Ryan Hood / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- A rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte gave freshly activated Matt Lindstrom a front-seat view of Avisail Garcia's rehab, and Lindstrom had an encouraging scouting report to offer.
"He looks pretty good," said Lindstrom, who noted seeing increased plate discipline and an impressive ability to attack the opposite field from Garcia.
After going 1-for-3 in a rain-shortened game on Tuesday, Garcia is 15-for-41 (.365) in 11 games with Charlotte.
"I don't know if we're close enough to where we're counting down games until he's back, but he's getting close," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Ventura said the 50 at-bat plateau would serve as a benchmark for when the 23-year-old would be evaluated. The most important thing is for him to regain his endurance to the point where he wouldn't feel like he's behind when activated.
Garcia sustained 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 season, but he's made quick progress. Being able to play a full nine innings in the outfield on a regular basis appears to be the last hurdle to clear before a return to the South Side, since Ventura plans to use him as his everyday right fielder once he's back.
Garcia has hit .298/.332/.450 with seven homers in 50 games for the White Sox since coming over from Detroit in last season's three-team Jake Peavy-Jose Iglesias deal.
Lindstrom to be utilized in middle relief
SAN FRANCISCO -- Nearly three months after ankle surgery, Matt Lindstrom is off the disabled list and back in the White Sox bullpen. He won't be assuming his old role, though.
Manager Robin Ventura wouldn't commit to an exact role for Lindstrom, but he said the right-hander will be used anywhere between the sixth and eighth innings, not as the team's closer. That role still belongs to Jake Petricka, owner of a 2.02 ERA in 58 innings this season.
Still, Lindstrom will be a welcome addition to a unit that has struggled this season.
"You're getting back a guy you're more comfortable with," Ventura said before Tuesday night's opener against the Giants. "He was throwing the ball well enough down there that we felt he was ready."
Lindstrom made five appearances in testing the surgically repaired tendon sheath in his left ankle that has had him sidelined since May 19, and that was enough to convince the White Sox he's ready to return.
"I put a lot of work in to get back to this point; I'm ready to go," an excited Lindstrom said Tuesday. "I'm expecting to pitch tonight."
After pitching every other day for Triple-A Charlotte, Lindstrom said any thoughts about the injury are out of his head. There have apparently been a few more numbers on the radar gun, though -- he said his velocity during those five appearances was higher than it had been with the White Sox before he was injured.
To make room for Lindstrom following Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Mariners, the White Sox optioned left-handed reliever Eric Surkamp to Charlotte. Surkamp finished with a 7.11 ERA after retiring Dustin Ackley in the seventh inning Sunday. But he also allowed only three of 18 inherited runners to score and limited first batters to two hits in 16 at-bats. Left-handed hitters were 4-for-24 against Surkamp but with three homers.
The move left the White Sox without a left-hander in the bullpen, most likely until September callups. When asked how that'd impact his late-inning decision process, Ventura said there aren't any concrete plans for whom he'd call in to face a left-handed hitter; matchups and circumstances will dictate who gets the nod.
Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.