Yoan returns after COVID recovery
Third baseman Yoan Moncada is back.
Moncada, who said he tested positive for the coronavirus, worked out with the White Sox for the first time in major-league camp Thursday, and right-hander Jose Ruiz also returned, although Ruiz will join the taxi squad in Schaumburg,
The pair was put on the 10-day injured list last Friday for unspecified reasons, but both players were asymptomatic.
Manager Rick Renteria, who was away for a week to attend a family funeral in California, returned in time to happily welcome arguably the Sox’ best all-around player in 2019.
“He’s a big, big piece of the puzzle,” Renteria said.
Renteria is preparing for the “off chance” Moncada is not ready by the season opener against the Twins next Friday. He said he would need “two or three days” to assess when Moncada will be ready.
Moncada said he feels good, and he looked good hitting in workouts, Renteria said. He was “a little rusty” taking ground balls, Renteria said, but “it looks like he hasn’t skipped a beat.”
Moncada wants to play in the opener but hasn’t had much activity in the last two weeks, and with a history of hamstring issues, the Sox will be careful not to rush him back.
He said he tested positive in Chicago during the intake. A couple of days later, he said he lost his senses of taste and smell for two or three days but otherwise felt fine. He said had no idea how he got it and was “shocked” by the test result.
“It was a scary and difficult time,” Moncada said.
Moncada had a breakout season in 2019 and was statistically the Sox’ best overall player.
He had to pass consecutive tests before getting the OK to return.
Rodon shakes off 3 HRs in 2nd start
Left-hander Carlos Rodon, facing the first lineup, gave up three runs on three homers — two solo shots by Edwin Encarnacion and one by Tim Anderson —in3⅔ innings in his second outing since Tommy John surgery 14 months ago. Rodon’s slider looked to be ahead of his fastball, and he struck out Nomar Mazara, Yasmani Grandal, Nicky Delmonico and Cheslor Cuthbert.
“Slider was sharp, fastball was decent, close to almost all the way,” Rodon said. “A couple of missed pitches, things we can get better at, and good thing these don’t count.”
Rodon, the Opening Day starter in 2018, figures to open the season in the rotation.
“I felt really good, better than the last one, which is reassuring,” Rodon said. “I don’t like to make excuses for it, but I also have to remind myself that it’s been 14 months since the Tommy John. Not only do I forget, but so do some other people.”
Anderson has four homers in eight intrasquad games. Encarnacion, who homered to center and left in his first two at-bats, has three.
“It’s not an easy lineup to face,” Rodon said. “It’s a lineup that’s going to do a lot of damage.”
Cease strikes out 8
Right-hander Dylan Cease, facing the second lineup, struck out eight and allowed one run and three singles in 3⅔ innings. Cease was very sharp, getting strikeouts with his fastball and breaking pitches.
Aches and pains
Delmonico, an outfielder/first baseman, played second base with Leury Garcia (back) and Andrew Romine (shoulder) dealing with soreness. Romine was well enough to bat, and Garcia will play Friday, Renteria said.
Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon allowed two solo home runs by Edwin Encarnacion and one by Tim Anderson in 3⅔ innings Thursday.