Manager Rick Renteria had Moncada back at the top of the order for Friday night’s series opener against the Royals, even though Moncada was 4-for-16 with two walks and nine strikeouts in five games since he was dropped to the bottom third of the order a week ago.
“Regardless of what everyone wants to look at, he still has a really good eye,” Renteria said. “He’s a guy (who) can get on base. Put him up there again and see how he responds.”
Moncada was batting .219 with a .301 on-base percentage entering Friday, including totals of .144 and .264 since the All-Star break. He had struck out 31 times in his last 60 plate appearances, raising his majors-leading total to 172. Moncada is on pace for 232 strikeouts, which would break Mark Reynolds’ single-season record of 223 in 2009.
“We’ll continue to maneuver and manage that situation for him,” Renteria said. “As long as we don’t feel or I don’t feel he’s really being hindered in terms of his confidence and things of that nature, we’ll continue to do what we can to help him out.”
Extra innings: Welington Castillo, who is eligible to be activated Thursday after his 80-game PED suspension ends, had a single and walk in five plate appearances as he began a rehab stint at Triple-A Charlotte … Pitching coach Don Cooper held a clinic Friday morning for members of the Sox’s Amateur City Elite youth program … The return of Leury Garcia should make it easy for players to get rest, which Renteria says will be important as the Sox began a stretch of 20 games without a break. Monday had been scheduled as an off day, but they will play a makeup game in Minnesota.
Phil Rogers is a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune.