Mon­cada ex­pected to play in opener

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

Man­ager Rick Ren­te­ria said Tues­day that third base­man

Yoan Mon­cada is ex­pected to be in the lineup when the White Sox open the reg­u­lar sea­son Friday against the Twins at Guar­an­teed Rate Field.

On the morn­ing af­ter he played in his first game of sum­mer camp against the Cubs, Mon­cada faced nu­mer­ous pitch­ers in sim­u­lated game ac­tion and took ground balls at third, where he shook off some rust and made three good plays on sharply hit grounders Mon­day.

Mon­cada, who bat­ted .315/.367/.548 with 25 home runs in 132 games last sea­son, had missed most of camp af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus dur­ing the in­take process.

‘‘I would an­tic­i­pate that he will be there, un­less there’s some un­fore­seen sit­u­a­tion that arises,” Ren­te­ria said af­ter watch­ing Mon­cada work. ‘‘I think he’s go­ing to be good enough to be with us.’’

Fac­ing right-han­ders Dy­lan Cease and Rey­naldo Lopez and left-han­der Gio Gon­za­lez, among oth­ers, Mon­cada took plenty of swings, es­pe­cially left-handed. Re­sults were mixed, with the high­light be­ing a homer to right against Cease.

Mon­cada had an RBI sin­gle among his three at-bats against the Cubs.

Mazara out for fourth day in row

Right fielder No­mar Mazara was side­lined for the fourth con­sec­u­tive day, but he hasn’t been ruled out for the opener. Ren­te­ria, who has said in re­cent days that Mazara was ‘‘un­der the weather,’’ said he wasn’t con­cerned about Mazara’s avail­abil­ity.

‘‘Not yet, not yet,’’ Ren­te­ria said. ‘‘But he is still a lit­tle un­der the weather. As soon as I have more in­for­ma­tion on how he’s do­ing, if we can share, we will.

What I can share, we will.’’

While feel­ing ill raises unique con­cerns dur­ing a pan­demic, it’s also pre­ma­ture to draw con­clu­sions.

Adam En­gel and Leury Gar­cia started in right field in the ex­hi­bi­tion games against the Cubs on Sun­day and Mon­day.

The Sox ac­quired Mazara, 25, in an off­sea­son trade with the Rangers for out­field prospect Steele Walker. Mazara hit .268/.318/.469 with 19 homers last sea­son.

Get­ting to 30

Ren­te­ria said 15 or 16 pitch­ers will make the 30-man Open­ing Day ros­ter, prob­a­bly putting right-handed prospects Jimmy Lam­bert and Dane Dun­ning in good po­si­tions to make it. Hardthrow­ing right-handed prospect Codi Heuer also has pitched well in camp.

‘‘We have a pretty good idea [how the ros­ter will shake out],’’ Ren­te­ria said. ‘‘[Wed­nes­day] should be a pretty ex­cit­ing day for a cou­ple of guys, pos­si­bly, and then just so­lid­i­fy­ing the 30 that are go­ing to break.’’

Tak­ing a knee

No Sox play­ers or coaches knelt dur­ing the na­tional an­them Sun­day and Mon­day, but Ren­te­ria said he would ‘‘stand by what­ever my play­ers de­cide that they want to do’’ when he was asked about some Gi­ants kneel­ing Mon­day.

‘‘I’ll re­spect it,’’ Ren­te­ria said. ‘‘And I think it’s about time that we start talk­ing about get­ting to­gether, com­ing to­gether.

Any­thing we can do that is not di­vi­sive is prob­a­bly a help­ful thing. Some peo­ple may take what­ever ac­tions peo­ple take as a di­vi­sive ac­tion, but I don’t see it that way.’’

This and that

Left-han­der Car­los Rodon will start the ex­hi­bi­tion game Wed­nes­day against the Brew­ers.

The morn­ing work­out af­ter the night game Mon­day was op­tional for many play­ers. Thursday will be a day off in ad­vance of the opener.

GETTY IM­AGES

Sox third base­man Yoan Mon­cada went 1-for-3 in an ex­hi­bi­tion game Mon­day against the Cubs. He missed most of sum­mer camp af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus.

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