Garcia, who has been out since April after shoulder surgery, will begin his rehab assignment as a designated hitter before advancing to full games in the outfield, according to White Sox general manager Rick Hahn.
Lindstrom, out since May after undergoing ankle surgery, might need just a handful of appearances before returning to the White Sox.
The original timetable on Garcia was that he would return by spring training in 2015, although the White Sox were open to him playing winter ball. Hahn has stood by that original plan, although now he seems open to Garcia returning this season. White Sox manager Robin Ventura already has said there is a chance Garcia could return this year.
“This rehab assignment is the next step in the process,” Hahn said. “Getting him in live game action on a consistent basis, not only to get him back to a playing standpoint he’s accustomed to, but also a physical standpoint. Making sure that he can withstand it and is physically able to perform at the big league level.
“It certainly is done with the hope that the next stage is activation to the major league roster but, at the same time, as we’ve done for the past several months with his rehab, we’re going to respond to how he feels physically and how he is from a symptomatic standpoint and obviously err on the side of caution.”
As far as arm strength goes, Lindstrom seems ready to return. Getting his ankle to respond to the rigors of the game is the focus now.
“Part of it is going to be the lateral movement, getting off the mound, a lot of the drills he’s been put through and some of the things that were tested in the two simulated games he had,” Hahn said. “The arm strength, he’s been able to maintain that fairly decently through his layoff. But it is a matter of making sure the stuff and the arm strength is at the previous level before he’s activated.
“We’re just going to have to react to what he shows during the assignment before bringing him back.”
One day before the non-waiver trade deadline, chatter of deals involving the White Sox has been quiet. But adding Lindstrom and Garcia before the season ends gives the sense of being a buyer rather than a seller, since an influx of talent will be on the way for the closing months.
“I think there’s a sense of that,” Hahn said. “Certainly Matt has the ability to help solidify the back end of the bullpen, and Avi would be a big piece for us not only in the lineup but as part of our future plans, and being able to continue the process of getting to where we want to be.
“We’ve missed them both throughout this stretch. And if and when they return to the active roster, we certainly think it’s going to be a nice shot in the arm.”
One thing Hahn refuses to do is torture himself with what would have been -- had guys like Lindstrom, Garcia and Nate Jones had their health this season.
“Yeah, I get enough torture on a nightly basis, I don’t need to add that,” Hahn said. “I prefer to stay away from that because every [team] has to suffer through it. It’s part of the game. It’s unfortunate for us, but I’m sure every club is lamenting the loss of a player here or there that they felt would make something different.
“Instead, I’m just trying to be more focused on when we are getting them back and what improvements that will lead to in our performance.”