9:36pm: White Sox GM Rick Hahn classified the strain as “mild to moderate,” tweets Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago. While it seems that Garcia has at least avoided a significant injury, Hahn added that he’s not sure how much time Garcia can be expected to miss at present.
11:21am: The White Sox have placed outfielder Avisail Garcia on the 10-day DL with a strained right hamstring, per a club announcement. He’ll be replaced by Daniel Palka, who gets his first call to the majors.
Garcia, 26, left last night’s contest in visible pain, so it’s no surprise to see this placement. The severity of the strain is not yet known; his anticipated timeline could vary quite a lot depending upon the particulars.
The time on the shelf will come after a brutal start to the season for Garcia, who is hitting just .233/.250/.315 and has yet to draw a walk in 76 plate appearances. That’s particularly disappointing after a 2017 season in which he had finally broken through with a .330/.380/.506 slash and 18 home runs after years of showing hints but never fully coming around.
Last year’s output came with a caveat, to some extent, as Garcia rode a .392 batting average on balls in play. Though he has long fared well in that department, it was obviously an unsustainable level.
That said, whatever good fortune he benefited from in 2017 has thus far been repayed with bad luck. Sustaining top-end production without drawing many walks will always be a challenge, but there ought to be some positive regression to come. Garcia has struck the ball well in 2018 despite the poor outcomes, with a .345 xwOBA that lags his actual .244 wOBA by a yawning margin.
While the White Sox await Garcia’s return — hopefully, in time to present as a potential trade candidate this summer — they’ll take a look at Palka, who was claimed off waivers from the division-rival Twins last fall. He’s off to a good start at Triple-A, where he’s slashing .286/.384/.476 with three home runs over 73 trips to the plate.