Moncada set to return tonight, bat second
BOSTON — Yoan Moncada will make his season debut when the White Sox open a homestand against the Guardians on Monday, manager Tony La Russa said Sunday.
Moncada, who suffered a right oblique strain before the final spring-training game, has played six games for Triple-A Charlotte on his rehab assignment. La Russa already knew Sunday that the switch-hitting third baseman would be batting second, with center fielder Luis Robert fourth.
“Moncada is swinging the bat well, and he adds a lot to the lineup at that spot,” La Russa said.
Moncada was 7-for-22 with two home runs at Charlotte.
“We are excited to get him back, period,” La Russa said. “But add the exclamation mark with the way [Charlotte manager] Wes [Helms] is talking about how he’s working, great frame of mind and really getting the bat out. He’s ready now to help us.”
Bummer to IL; Kelly in
An MRI exam showed a “sprain or strain” in left-hander Aaron Bummer’s right knee, La Russa said, and he will go on the injured list Monday. Bummer has struggled with command and owns a 4.91 ERA in 11 games. His last appearance was Friday.
Right-handed reliever Joe Kelly, signed to a two-year, $17 million free-agent deal in March, will take Bummer’s roster spot. Kelly delayed his start to the season because of a right biceps nerve injury.
“Kelly, we are going to embrace him with open arms,” La Russa said.
Vaughn not close to return
Outfielder Andrew Vaughn is eligible to come off the IL on Thursday, but he likely won’t be recovered from a bone bruise in his right hand by then. And when he is ready, he’ll need to do a rehab assignment.
“I don’t know how he can avoid that,” La Russa said. “There’s no way to get simulation at the big-league level. My guess is he’s going to take some at-bats. I don’t think it will be many because it hasn’t been that long.”
“It’s been good progress, still day to day. Able to take some easy swings off the tee now, but there is still a good bit of pain in there,” Vaughn said. “It’s a bone bruise that has to feel its way out. I’ve heard once it’s done it will be quick.”
Vaughn said he has used a tracking machine and stood in during pitchers’ bullpen sessions to try to maintain his timing.
Hendriks, Graveman get a rest
Liam Hendriks had pitched in six of the last eight games and was unavailable. So was Kendall Graveman.
Hendriks has converted each of his last nine save chances. He had saves in the first five games of the six-game winning streak, with batters going 0-for-15 against him. Nine of his last 10 appearances have been scoreless.
“He wanted to pitch today,” La Russa said. “We told Liam don’t even put your spikes on.”
Graveman warmed up Saturday, so it was thought best to rest him Sunday. As Graveman pointed out, he and Hendriks share the team high with 13 appearances, and Graveman leads with 14„ relief innings.
“We need to be pitching in September, too,” Graveman said. “We can’t be running on empty. We have [other] guys who can pitch like they showed today.”