Leury Garcia's 2016 season was very similar to his 2015 showing, albeit with some small improvements. After nearly cracking the Opening Day roster, the super-utility player spent the bulk of the year with Triple-A Charlotte, improving his slash line from the year prior. He even posted a career-high seven percent walk rate while continuing to strike out less than 20 percent of the time. This performance earned him another September callup, and although his .229 batting line seems less than impressive, the reality is that he performed well enough on the defensive side of things that he managed to garner a sizable amount of playing time at the end of the season. That being said, until Garcia can consistently hit at the major league level, he will likely remain merely a utility player.
Garcia was scratched from Tuesday's Cactus League bout due to flu-like symptoms, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago reports. Even with the setback to his spring schedule, this issue likely isn't too serious. Once Garcia has rested a bit and is back to full health, he's expected to land a spot on the White Sox roster as a reserve outfielder until Charlie Tilson (foot) returns from injury.
Garcia appears to have a spot on the White Sox roster after the team traded Peter Bourjos to the Rays. The White Sox were able to turn Bourjos, a non-roster invitee, into some cash and can use an available spot on the 40-man elsewhere. This clears the path for both Jacob May, the likely starter, and Garcia to hold down center field until Charlie Tilson (foot) is ready to return. In parts of four seasons in the majors, Garcia's line (.188/.225/.237/.462) in 331 plate appearances does not encourage optimism, although the 26-year-old is hitting .339 with 10 RBI in 59 spring at-bats.
Garcia went 1-for-3 with a strikeout in Friday's game against Milwaukee. Garcia started in center field and later moved to shortstop, showcasing the type of position versatility that could land him a spot on the Opening Day roster. He's also spent time at second base and third base this spring. With the release of infielder Brett Lawrie and outfielder Charlie Tilson's continued uncertainty due to a foot injury, Garcia's stock has risen as a utility switch-hitter off the bench.
Garcia went 3-for-4 with a walk, a run scored and four RBI in Tuesday's game against the Reds. Garcia started in center field, becoming the fourth different player to start there since Charlie Tilson suffered a foot injury last week. Tilson had been the frontrunner in center, but the more time he misses, the greater the opportunity for someone like Garcia or Peter Bourjous to perform their way onto the roster. The soon-to-be 26-year-old Garcia has a career .188 average, so he'll need more days like Tuesday if he's going to nail down a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Garcia was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday, Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports. He was in the running for the final roster spot in spring training, but Garcia missed the cut and ended up spending the entire first five months with Charlotte. Garcia did fare reasonably well with the top affiliate and will provide the White Sox with some speed and defensive versatility off the bench.