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Rehabbing Avisail Garcia might return this season

Updated: July 7, 2014 10:58PM



BOSTON — When Avisail Garcia returns from his shoulder injury — and it could be before the season ends — you won’t be seeing the kind of aggressive, head-first dive that put him in the operating room in April.

“We are going to have to take that head-first dive from the outfield out of his game somehow,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “We’re going to have to teach him to slide similar to Magglio [Ordonez] used to years ago, that sliding catch as opposed to the head-first dive, which again is part of the rehabilitation process, the development process.”

Garcia’s development and rehab from a torn left labrum is moving along so well that he was scheduled to take batting practice Monday for the first time since having surgery April 15. Threatening weather ­postponed the session for a day.

Garcia was injured attempting to make a diving catch against the Rockies on April 9 in Denver. He was thought to be out for the ­season, but his hard work, fast healing and progress leave the door open for a return this season.

“Our doctors feel very good 12 weeks post-op that physiologically the fracture and the repair have healed, so now it’s just a matter of slowly progressing him back into baseball activities and see what timeline that leads to in terms of a potential return,” Hahn said, adding that the timeline will not be dictated by the standings, only by Garcia’s health and what’s best for his development. He faces the risk of re-injury, but “that risk is no greater a month from now than it’s going to be five years from now,” Hahn said.

A.J.: Konerko deserves more

Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski met Paul Konerko before the game Monday. This is Konerko’s final series at Fenway Park, where he and Pierzynski won the ALDS together in 2005.

“People will look at Paul and ­realize how great of a player he was maybe once he’s gone,” ­Pierzynski said. “Sometimes people don’t really give him the respect because they don’t realize how good his numbers are.”

Konerko, who will retire after the season, entered the game with 439 homers and 1,439 RBI. A career .280 hitter, he ranks behind only Frank Thomas in homers and RBI among White Sox.

“He always puts his work in,” Pierzynski said. “He always seems to do the right thing, which is why he’s Paul and why he’s the captain there and why he’s been there for a long time and done it right.”

Gillaspie out of lineup

Third baseman Conor Gillaspie, who was hit on the left knee by a pitch from the Mariners’ Dominic Leone on Sunday, did not start and wasn’t expected to play Monday, although manager Robin Ventura wasn’t ruling out the possibility of pinch-hit duty. Ventura said Gillaspie could be back Tuesday.

“He’s pretty sore today,’’ Ventura said.

This and that

Rick Hahn said he is hopeful right-hander Matt Lindstrom will be activated before September.

◆ Right-hander Nate Jones is on a throwing program, but Hahn said there is no timetable. “He’s not off a mound yet, but he’s ­moving along,’’ Hahn said.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan



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