CHICAGO – It has been tougher for the White Sox to sell hope this season with so many of the projected impact players of the future sidelined with injuries.
That made general manager Rick Hahn’s mission so much easier when he met with the media Monday before the Sox played the Cleveland Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“Positive news,” Hahn said. “Lots of positive injury news.”
Positive news on several fronts.
• All-star right fielder Avisail Garcia has been out since April 23 with a strained right hamstring.
On Tuesday, he will begin a rehab assignment Triple-A Charlotte, but Garcia likely is going to need extra time before he’s ready to rejoin the Sox.
“We’re going to be flexible,” Hahn said. “He’s going to need at least a week to 10 days of regular action to get his timing back. It’s more getting into baseball shape at this point than anything physical with the hamstring.”
Last season, Garcia finished second in the American League with a .330 batting average. In 18 games this year, he’s batting .233.
With so many talented young outfielders in the system, there is a good chance Garcia gets traded at some point. His contract is under club control through 2019, so the Sox aren’t in any rush to make a decision.
• Prized pitching prospect Alec Hansen has been in extended spring training for more than two months because of right forearm soreness.
This weekend, the 6-foot-8 starter will make his debut for Double-A Birmingham.
Hansen, the White Sox’s second-round draft pick in 2016, broke out big last season. The right-hander was a combined 11-8 with a 2.80 ERA in stops with low Class A Kannapolis, high Class A Winston-Salem and Birmingham.
In 1411⁄3 innings, Hansen had 191 strikeouts, the highest total in minor-league baseball since 2011.
• Like Hansen, top prospect Luis Robert went down with an injury (thumb) in spring training, and the 20-year-old outfielder missed nearly three months.
Robert joined Kannapolis last week and has showed little rust, batting .304 with two doubles and six RBIs in six games.
Before hurting his thumb in a March 7 Cactus League game against the Cincinnati Reds, Robert was ticketed for Winston-Salem.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder should be promoted from Kannapolis “in the next week or 10 days,” Hahn said.
“With him, it’s just baseball timing and getting him back to playing on a regular basis,” the White Sox’s GM said. “Physically, he’s fine. The acclimation process has been very smooth.”
• Micker Adolfo is having a big offensive year at Winston-Salem, hitting .274/.367/.442 while ranking among Carolina League leaders with 34 RBIs.
Diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow during spring training, Adolfo initially feared season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Swinging the bat does not bother the elbow, so Adolfo has been Winston-Salem’s designated hitter this season.
The 21-year-old outfielder was in Chicago for a follow-up MRI last week, and he has been cleared to throw.
“The goal (is) hopefully get him back in the outfield at some point this season and hopefully avoid surgery,” Hahn said. “We’re not out of the woods. He’s just beginning a throwing program.
“Not until at least probably four to six weeks will we know if he’s able to progress and play regularly in the outfield. But at the very least right now things are trending in the right direction.”