Yoan re­turns af­ter COVID re­cov­ery

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN, STAFF RE­PORTER dvan­schouwen@sun­times.com @CST_­sox­van

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.

NAM Y. HUH/AP

Sox left-han­der Car­los Rodon al­lowed two solo home runs by Ed­win En­car­na­cion and one by Tim Anderson in 3⅔ in­nings Thurs­day.

Yoan Mon­cada

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