Ren­te­ria gives Mon­cada a Break

Chicago Sun-Times - - SOX BEAT - Daryl Van Schouwen

Cen­ter fielder Luis Robert and catcher Yas­mani Gran­dal re­turned to the White Sox’ lineup af­ter missing two and three games with a sore right hand and a sore back, re­spec­tively, but a big bat was missing Fri­day, when the Sox opened a three-game se­ries against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Third base­man Yoan Mon­cada

was out af­ter ap­pear­ing to be less than 100% in re­cent days.

“Just man­ag­ing his legs a lit­tle bit,” man­ager Rick Ren­te­ria said. “You guys have seen him kind of grind­ing it out a lit­tle bit. Maybe this will just calm it down, and we’ll be able to get him back in there to­mor­row, maybe use him for a spe­cial at-bat or some­thing today. That’s ba­si­cally all it is.”

Mon­cada was bat­ting .266/.352/.468 with five home runs. He was hit­ting .185 with two homers and nine RBI in his last eight games and .211 with three homers and 10 RBI in his last 15.

Ren­te­ria didn’t spec­ify the na­ture of Mon­cada’s sore­ness, but Mon­cada, who started late dur­ing sum­mer camp be­cause of a pos­i­tive coro­n­avirus test, has dealt with ham­string is­sues through­out his ca­reer.

“With Yoan, ab­so­lutely, we’re con­stantly keep­ing our eye on how he’s mov­ing around the bases and how he’s re­act­ing,” Ren­te­ria said.

“These guys are very strong, and they can push them­selves and maybe I can just help them kind of calm it down a lit­tle bit, let those legs cool off a lit­tle bit.”

Ryan Goins started at third.

Jimenez’s blast­ing mem­ory

At first, Eloy Jimenez called the Sox-Cubs se­ries “like any other se­ries.’’ By the time he was done with his pregame Zoom in­ter­view, it was ap­par­ent that it’s more than that.

Traded by the Cubs to the Sox in 2017 in the Jose Quin­tana deal, Jimenez now counts his home run against the Cubs at Wrigley Field last sea­son as one of the most cher­ished of his young ca­reer. He has the bro­ken bat he hit it with, the ball, the bat­ting gloves.

“I have pretty much ev­ery­thing that I used that game,” he said.

“It’s al­ways fun play­ing against the Cubs. Af­ter they traded me, I like to play against them. But I just try to go out and play hard like al­ways.”

Jimenez, who home­red off Colin Rea in the sev­enth in­ning and sin­gled against Jon Lester in the first in­ning, re­called con­nect­ing on the two-run tiebreak­ing homer against Pe­dro Strop on June 19 last year, a ninth-in­ning blast that gave the Sox a 3-1 vic­tory be­fore 41,192 fans.

“It’s spe­cial,” Jimenez said. “My first game at Wrigley Field. I was dream­ing of that, hit­ting a home run here. Noth­ing against them, but af­ter they traded me, I said, ‘Oh, yeah. I want to hit it against them.’ A really good mem­ory for me for the rest of my life.”

Lopez to start Satur­day

Rey­naldo Lopez will start Satur­day, Ren­te­ria said af­ter the game. Left-han­der Gio Gon­za­lez, who has made four starts and one re­lief ap­pear­ance, might re­lieve Lopez, who has been out with a sore shoul­der since his first start of the sea­son and prob­a­bly would be lim­ited to two, three or four in­nings depend­ing on his pitch count.

“Ab­so­lutely, that’s a pos­si­bil­ity,” Ren­te­ria said.

Satur­day would have been Gon­za­lez’s turn to start. ✶

KAMIL KRZACZYNSK­I/AP

Yas­mani Gran­dal cel­e­brates with third-base coach Nick Capra af­ter hit­ting a two-run home run off Jon Lester in the fourth in­ning Fri­day night.

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