The San Jose Giants lost their starting catcher on May 22, and for the organization's top prospect at the position, it was a long two months without baseball. But thankfully, the Arizona Fall League provided third-year catcher Aramis Garcia with a much-needed opportunity to get back a bit of that lost time.
Garcia sat down with Giant Potential in Glendale, Ariz. to describe his unusual injury, as well as the road back from it.
GP: Walk me through the injury you sustained towards the beginning of the year.
Garcia: So basically, I was on first base and the batter behind me hits a hard ground ball to shortstop. So I’m running down the line [to second] and the shortstop is bobbling the ball so I’m really unsure about whether I’m going to have to slide or not so I kind of make a late slide, like literally almost on top of the bag, and the second baseman, trying to get out of the way, jumped up and kneed me in the face. I went down after that.
GP: So you had some facial fractures as a result of that?
Garcia: Yeah I had multiple facial fractures around my eye and on my cheek bone, which required surgery.
GP: And so how was the surgery?
Garcia: I went in, they knocked me out, and when I woke up my face was really swollen. That’s pretty much all I remember, just waking up on the bed. They made an incision above my eye, under my eye, and then they went up through my mouth to get my cheek bone. They put a few plates in there to keep it steady, and then the healing process began.
GP: What was the recovery like from that type of injury?
Garcia: Honestly, it was just a lot of waiting. I tried to keep myself busy. The swelling was probably the worst part because the pain really wasn’t that bad. I was on medication for it and everything. It was just the waiting. My parents came out to California to visit me and they were with me for about three weeks, which was really nice. So I got to stay with them and just wait it out. There really wasn’t anything I could do but go to the field every day and just try to stay busy: watching the games and cheering on the guys.
GP: That must’ve been the hardest part of the whole rehabilitation process. Just waiting, right?
Garcia: Honestly, yeah. I think it was just waiting and not being able to play. You realize how quickly the game can be taken away from you. Just by sliding into second base my season was almost completely over in May. Fortunately I was able to come back and finish up this season. You realize how fortunate you are to play baseball every single day.
GP: You came back and got about a month’s worth of at-bats before the regular season ended?
Garcia: Yeah, pretty much. They had me on a playing schedule where at first I was one game on and one game off. Then after maybe two weeks I was playing two on and one off, just to try to get my legs back under me. There wasn’t much of the season left. I joined the team in August with about a month and a half left so it flew by. I maybe got in 10 or 15 games.
GP: How did those games feel for you?
Garcia: It was great. I was thankful to be back out there and playing. But the actual playing wasn’t easy because I was getting back into it while everyone else was finishing up their season. But just to get out there and play again, I was extremely thankful.
GP: That must’ve made this time here in the Fall League that much more important.
Garcia: Absolutely. When they gave me the phone call to let me know I was coming to the Fall League, I was ecstatic. I called my parents first thing and they were really happy for me. Just to be out here and play in this great competition, it’s been awesome.
GP: What have been some things you’ve really been working on here in Arizona?
Garcia: There were a few minor adjustments that they wanted me to make at the plate. Just being a little more aggressive with my at-bats and things like that. And defensively, just getting as many reps as possible.
GP: There’s been some talk among scouts that your ball-blocking ability has improved over the last few years. Would you say you’ve noticed that as well?
Garcia: Yeah, I think ever since I signed, defense has been an area where I’ve needed to improve. I take that very seriously, during the season and during the offseason. I try to create a routine for myself where I’m taking balls off the machine and trying to get as many reps as I can before the game. And on off days just to sharpen up my game behind the plate to be as good as I can back there.
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