Given the finite, zero-sum nature of rosters and lineup cards, the news of Avisail Garcia's horrific bone-involving labrum tear was good news for somebody -- even if this is the last way they'd want to receive it.
Given the collective goal of team sports, it's up to everybody else to try to make these unintentional benefits count toward something.
It's not going to be easy. Garcia's development ranked as one of the top focus points of the season (Jose Abreu tops that list, but Garcia's case is as compelling as any after that). Unlike the injuries to Jeff Keppinger and Gordon Beckham, the guys who are going to get a look in Garcia's absence aren't nearly as interesting to watch.
That said, the injury does give the White Sox the opportunity to answer some lingering questions about the outfield. The principal players involved:
Alejandro De Aza: He's good enough to handle an outfield position on an everyday basis, but the acquisition of Adam Eaton and De Aza's own frustrating year relegated him to a time-share in left. He'll be back to playing every day, and if he can have a year in line with his 2012 and 2013 seasons, he'll have some trade value at the deadline, should the Sox gain more from moving him.
Dayan Viciedo: This is pretty much Viciedo's last stand, at least as a starter. He would have been close to an afterthought had the Sox carried out their initial outfield configuration, but now Rick Hahn says Viciedo has a chance to play his way back into the front office's big plans:
"We get a chance to see if Dayan Viciedo at age 25 can make the improvements that he's shown signs of making already," general manager Rick Hahn said. "He's going to have the opportunity to play on a more regular basis in all probability and perhaps entrench himself as part of this new long-term core we're trying to put together."
The question for Viciedo is the one he's always had -- can he rein in his approach to let his natural bat speed work for him, and can he hit enough to offset his defensive difficulties? The answer is "probably not," but the uncertainty should be all but eliminated after this season.
Jordan Danks: Danks has been a good soldier for the Sox, and assessing him on individual merits, he deserved better than starting yet another season in Charlotte. He's made a number of improvements over the years, he did all he could during spring training, and at 27 years old, he needed a chance to make something of his prime.
It didn't look like he'd get the right opportunity in this organization. Somehow, though, the pile of first basemen/designated hitters that worked against him in late March now benefits him in early April. The Sox still can't carry a fifth outfielder, which creates a sweet deal for the fourth, and it's probably the best possible situation for Danks. He's a great complement for Viciedo in both handedness and skill set, and if Viciedo keeps chasing right-handed pitching out of the zone, Danks has an opportunity to rip some playing time away from him. It's a big-time fourth-outfielder job for a guy who would probably be considered a fifth for teams with ambition.
Danks has to like that there's nobody behind him, but that's not great news for the White Sox. The move exhausts their supply of rosterable outfielders, unless you expect the best is yet to come for Blake Tekotte, who would seem to have an edge over everybody else, including the recently acquired Gorkys Hernandez.
That last sentence should serve as smelling salts for Trayce Thompson and Jared Mitchell. That sentence also underscores why Thursday was a "lousy day" for Hahn. Garcia was supposed to be a 6-foot-4-inch, 260-pound bottle of Febreze, masking the flagging development of the Sox's top outfield prospects. Barring unforeseen reversals of fortune, the Sox are going to have to live with the stink for a while.