"It’s a big step," Ventura said. "Guys that go the other way, sometimes it takes a little while to learn how to pull the ball correctly. He’s been in the middle of that for about a week of still working it out. Watching him for going on the second year, he hasn’t hit too many balls like that. The last couple of days, he’s been hitting like that, to where the trajectory and the way his bat comes through the zone is a little bit better than it’s been."
He followed up the fireworks with an exhilarating display of ... patience. He calmly drew his second and third walks on the season, which gives him three in eight games. (And he should have four, but he was plunked on ball four a few days ago.)
After jamming his shoulder in the turf at Coors Field, the hope is that 1) he can get back on the field pretty quickly, and 2) he doesn't lose what he gained the past couple of days.
It's not as bad as it could be, but Dan Hayes said Garcia needed help putting on his shirt. Garcia's trying to stay optimistic:
"Hopefully its just pain," Garcia said. "I want to be in the field soon, hopefully. I feel right now a lot of pain. Sore too. Hopefully everything will get better tomorrow. We’ll see what happens tomorrow."
The play brought to mind Carlos Quentin's shoulder injury under similar circumstances in August of 2011. Quentin's looked worse, both in terms of impact and how he walked off the field. I was sitting down the right-field line for that game, and my first thought was "broken collarbone."
He ended up suffering "only" an AC joint sprain. While milder than a separation or dislocation, it still typically required several weeks to heal. The Sox tried to pass him off as "day to day" at first, but after playing shorthanded for six days while on the fringe of a pennant race for reasons financial and/or political, they finally resorted to promoting Dayan Viciedo. Quentin only played in half a game the rest of the season.
If Garcia's shoulder injury is a sprain along the same lines, at least it'll be easier to absorb from a team perspective. Alejandro De Aza can go back to playing every day, Dayan Viciedo will get one more chance to prove he can pick up right-handed pitching, and Jordan Danks can rotate with him. That's not as fun to watch, especially since Garcia showed a glimmer of getting it in the moments leading up to the injury, but there's a lot of season left.
After watching Jose Abreu go to work in spring training, people watching the Sox drew comparisons to Frank Thomas, and that struck a nerve with The Big Hurt, who sent these missives in between retweets of fans saying the same:
NBC Chicago Sports That Was Not Cool!! Comparisons #HOF2014ClassToARookieInTheBigLeagues— Frank Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) February 19, 2014
Sorry To All My Fans For The Out Burst!! Never Compare A Player To A Rookie Who Hasn't Played 1 Out In Major League Baseball!! HOF1Percent!!— Frank Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) February 19, 2014
That brief diatribe came to mind when, a day after Abreu hit his first two big-league homers, Thomas tweeted:
Lets make sure this is Real!!! The Baseballs don't fly like this in April!! Trust Me the Balls are Doctored!! Enough Said!!— Frank Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) April 9, 2014
Trust Me I have Pounded many Baseballs in April they don't carry into the seats like this!!! Nice Try!!!— Frank Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) April 9, 2014
Tuesday's games did have some weird clumping, with the White Sox hitting six homers, and Ryan Braun hitting three by himself. Nevertheless, entering the day Thomas made his observation, the league had been hitting homers at a lower rate compared to last April:
- April 2014: 2.22 percent of plate appearances
- April 2013: 2.68 percent of plate appearances
Thomas is probably succumbing to recency bias, but that's a boring explanation. I'd rather throw around my own theory and pretend that he's threatened by Abreu. That makes no sense whatsoever, but it would make Abreu even more fun to follow.