CHICAGO – Before the first game of a homestand, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn typically meets with the media and takes questions.
The practice has continued this season, but most of Hahn’s dugout sessions begin with injury updates.
As the Sox prepared to play the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, Hahn shed light on the health status of four players: right fielder Avisail Garcia, outfield prospect Micker Adolfo and infielder Nick Madrigal and outfielder Steele Walker, the club’s top two draft picks last month.
Garcia is back on the disabled list with a Grade 1 strain of his right hamstring. The Sox’s lone All-Star in 2017 was out from April 24 to June 20 with a Grade 2 strain.
“It is the same hamstring; however, it is in a different location and is considered more mild than last time around,” Hahn said. “Our doctors and training staff are optimistic that we could have him back as soon as the start of the second half (July 20).”
In 17 games back in the Sox’s lineup, Garcia batted .333 with three doubles, two triples, eight home runs, 13 RBIs and a 1.130 OPS.
“He looked fantastic for the stretch of time we had him active,” Hahn said. “Hopefully, the layoff this time will be brief enough that he’s able to pick up where he left off.”
The news on Adolfo was much worse.
In spring training, the 21-year-old outfielder injured his throwing (right) elbow, and season-ending Tommy John surgery was an option.
Swinging didn’t bother the elbow, so Adolfo was the full-time designated hitter at high Single-A Winston-Salem this season.
Adolfo started a throwing program last month with the hopes of returning to the outfield this season, but he suffered a setback and is scheduled to have the reconstructive elbow procedure.
“Obviously, not great news for Micker, but going back to spring training we were concerned he was going to end up missing the entire year,” Hahn said. “At least this way, Micker was able to get over 300 plate appearances at Winston-Salem, had a very solid year from a development standpoint.”
Pitchers typically are Tommy John victims, and the usual downtime is one year. Adolfo should be back in 8-10 months.
Madrigal, the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, made his professional debut with the Arizona Rookie League White Sox on Thursday. He also was scheduled to play Saturday and head to low Single-A Kannapolis on Sunday.
Hahn said the shortstop/second baseman was dealing with a mild hamstring injury his last three weeks with Oregon State, this year’s College World Series champions.
“If you know the kid or at least know of the kid, you understand why he was continuing to grind through that, because he was trying to win a national championship,” Hahn said. “Then he showed up to us, wanted to keep playing through it, which we shut down.
“He’s progressing nicely. He’ll likely be back in the lineup with the Arizona affiliate hopefully by this weekend if not sooner and then go from there to Kannapolis once he gets his rhythm back.”
Walker, the Sox’s second-round pick out of Oklahoma, hasn’t made his pro debut because of an oblique injury.
“He missed part of the college postseason because of that oblique, and we’re letting him fully recover from that before we get him out there,” Hahn said. “It was something we knew when we drafted him, and we’re just giving him time to heal.”