1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Rays journal: Garcia to return to Chicago with no hard feelings

Former White Sox outfielder still unsure why team let him go.
Former White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia is looking forward to returning to Chicago as a Ray. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published Apr. 8
Updated Apr. 8

SAN FRANCISCO — Avisail Garcia immensely enjoyed the 5½ seasons he spent playing for the White Sox and the memories that were made.

It was how his time there ended that he didn’t like.

A 2017 All-Star outfielder who battled injuries much of 2018, Garcia was dumped by the Sox at the late November contract tender deadline after the team reportedly couldn’t find anyone to take him in trade. He ended up with the Rays as a free agent. Monday is his first trip back to Chicago.

He said he still doesn’t know why the Sox decided to cut him loose as they did.

“I was surprised,’’ Garcia said Sunday. “I did my best. I played hurt. I don’t know what they were thinking. Maybe I was too expensive for them. I don’t know.

“It’s crazy. I don’t know what happened. I don’t think too much about it. I never talked to them. They called me and I never answered the phone because I knew what was going to happen. … Whatever happened happened.’’

Garcia made $6.7 million in 2018 and was projected for a raise in his final year of arbitration to $8 million for 2019. He signed with the Rays for $3.5 million, plus up to $2.5 million in incentives.

“I’m happy where I am right now,’’ he said. “Really good spot. Really, really good. Good guys, good clubhouse, good trainers. Everything’s good. It’s been great. I’m making less now, but I don’t care. I feel happy. It’s not everything about the money. It’s what feels comfortable.’’

Garcia figures to get a warm welcome from Chicago fans. He said he doesn’t hold any grudges against Sox officials and will tell any he sees during the three-day series he appreciated the chance to play there. “No hard feelings,’’ he said. “It’s business, just thank them for the opportunity and that’s it.’’

Snell confident

Lefty Blake Snell is feeling pretty good about Monday’s start. He’s coming off a strong showing by mixing his pitches well in beating the Rockies last week, can draw on past success against the White Sox (2-0, 0.93 in four starts), and likes the chance to pitch in cool but not terribly cold weather.

“I’m definitely looking forward to it,’’ he said. “They’re aggressive in a lot of areas, but if you mix it up, you can definitely succeed. Got to stay strong with mixing it up and making them guess. I like my chances if I can stick to that game plan well.’’

Who made this schedule?

Major League Baseball and the White Sox teamed to make things difficult for the Rays on Monday with the scheduled 1:10 Chicago time game (2:10 Eastern). That’s after the Rays played Sunday in San Francisco and — with the four-plus hour flight and two-hour time change — weren’t due in town until after midnight. Though some starting pitchers fly ahead, Blake Snell wanted to travel with the team.

It’s Chirinos, with two W’s

Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos throws against the Giants during the first inning of Sunday's game in San Francisco. [AP Photo/Jeff Chiu]

Though slated to pitch behind an opener as he did often last year, Yonny Chirinos has made two starts and starred both times. He threw five shutout innings in Sunday’s 3-0 win, allowing two hits. In his other start, on March 31, he held the Astros to one run over seven innings. But that doesn’t mean he’s moving into the rotation as a traditional starter.

“He’s going to pitch,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s going to pitch a lot. I think, though, we like and our team appreciates the versatility, the flexibility that we have. But we know on any given day (Ryan) Yarbrough, (Jalen) Beeks, obviously Yonny, they can make starts if we need them to. Wilmer Font the same thing. But I wouldn’t really commit one way or the other.’’


• Outfielder Tommy Pham singled to extend his team-record streak of reaching base to 42 games, halfway to Ted Williams’ MLB record of 84 set in 1949.

• Infielder Joey Wendle (hamstring) has not resumed any “major baseball activity” and won’t be ready to come off the injured list when eligible Thursday, Cash said, but Wendle is “probably going to coming back shortly after.’’

• Kevin Kiermaier is likely to be off Monday against White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon, with Guillermo Heredia playing center.

Stat line of the day

1-for-13, 4 Ks

— Evan Longoria’s performance in the three games vs. his former Rays mates


  1. The Yankees celebrate after defeating the Angels and clinching the AL East on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. MARY ALTAFFER  |  AP
    New York wins its first division crown since 2012.
  2. If the Rays end up popping champagne bottles, like they did in 2013 after beating the Texas Rangers 5-2 in an American League wild-card tiebreaker, don't expect the clincher to come at home. TONY GUTIERREZ  |  AP
    Don’t expect a quick clincher as the team enters its final homestand of the regular season.
  3. Pete Alonso may soon join Jose Fernandez (2013), Chris Coghlan (2009), Dwight Gooden (1984) and Lou Piniella (1969) as Tampa Bay area high school products who won a Rookie of the Year Award. Alonso extended his NL rookie record for homers to 49 on Wednesday in Colorado. DAVID ZALUBOWSKI  |  AP
    The Mets rookie from Plant High is on his way to winning NL Rookie of the Year with his 49 homers. Is that the greatest season of a bay area product?
  4. Tampa Bay Rays' Austin Meadows, left, is congratulated by Avisail Garcia after hitting a solo home run during the 11th inning of the team's baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Rays won 8-7. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) MARK J. TERRILL  |  AP
    On Emilio Pagan’s prognosticating prowess, Pete Fairbanks’ colorful celebration, Tommy Pham’s good fortune (and good hitting).
  5. Tampa Bay Rays' Willy Adames, left, scores on a throwing error by Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger after a single by Jesus Aguilar, as catcher Will Smith goes after the ball during the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) MARK J. TERRILL  |  AP
    Rays 8, Dodgers 7 (11): A one-out rally in the 9th allows Rays to tie, then a Meadows homer in 11th puts them ahead to stay.
  6. Rays rookie starter Brendan McKay delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Dodgers on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. MARK J. TERRILL  |  AP
    “Super cool” is how he describes the opportunity Wednesday against the Dodgers.
  7. Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Nate Lowe (35) is seen in the dugout during the third inning against Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, Sept. 07, 2019 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.   ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    Lowe make his fourth pro start at third in a critical game for Rays; Brendan McKay is on the mound.
  8. Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Colin Poche, shown pitching last month in Houston, has had a tough stretch at times,. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke) MICHAEL WYKE  |  AP
    Rookie relievers, pitching in September for the first time, are high on that list, and it’s quite noticeable when they falter.
  9. Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Colin Poche leaves the field after giving up two runs to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) CHRIS CARLSON  |  AP
    Dodgers 7, Rays 5: Snell’s solid return aside, it was a lost night for Rays as rookie relievers Poche and Fairbanks struggled.
  10. Tampa Bay Rays' Tommy Pham, right, connects for a double in front of Houston Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos, left, during a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke) MICHAEL WYKE  |  AP
    Rays Journal: Pham is dealing with right hand and elbow injuries that have limited his production: “It’s frustrating.”