Yoan Moncada returns to leadoff spot in White Sox batting order

Yoan Moncada returns to leadoff spot in White Sox batting order

Putting Yoan Moncada in the leadoff spot is a tough habit for the White Sox to break.

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.

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Matt Davidson hitting cleanup for White Sox against Royals — his favorite opponent

Matt Davidson hitting cleanup for White Sox against Royals — his favorite opponent

Matt Davidson is looking for a good weekend against the Royals. He’s in the White Sox lineup Friday night against right-hander Jakob Junis, off whom he homered twice April 26 in Kansas City.

Davidson is 16-for-40 with eight homers against the Royals this season. Rick Renteria is using him as the designated hitter in the opener of a three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field, batting him cleanup between Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia.

Here’s Renteria’s lineup behind James Shields:

Moncada 2B

Sanchez 3B

Abreu 1B

Davidson DH

A. Garcia RF

Narvaez C

Anderson SS

Delmonico LF

Engel CF

Phil Rogers is a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

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While waiting for Michael Kopech's White Sox call-up, preview his 'E:60' profile

While waiting for Michael Kopech's White Sox call-up, preview his 'E:60' profile

White Sox minor-league pitching sensation Michael Kopech is set to receive ESPN2’s “E:60” treatment this weekend.

While Sox fans wait for Kopech’s slider and blur of a fastball to reach the majors, Ryan McGee’s 8 a.m. report airing Sunday gives him the once-over, not just taking stock of his talent but the hurdles — some of his own making — with which he has had to contend.

McGee talked to Kopech about his PED suspension, the broken bone in his pitching hand suffered in a fight with a teammate and the young pitcher’s stated goal of winding up in the Hall of Fame.

Watch the previews below.

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White Sox's Yoan Moncada: Strikes out three times in return

White Sox's Yoan Moncada: Strikes out three times in return

Moncada (teeth) went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his return to the lineup Wednesday in the White Sox‘s 6-5 win over the Tigers.

As anticipated, Moncada was only forced to miss one game while recovering from a root canal. With that issue now behind him, Moncada should reprise his full-time role at second base the rest of the season, but the 23-year-old hasn’t proven to be much of an asset lately. He’s hitting a lowly .167 in August while striking out in more than half of his plate appearances.

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This was Hansen’s first start following his demotion from Double-A Birmingham. Hansen, who led the minor leagues in strikeouts in 2017, hit a developmental road block this year, starting with a right forearm injury in spring training. The 23-year-old right-hander didn’t start pitching in game conditions until June and by that time, was all out of rhythm, having walked 42 over 35.2 innings. The White Sox hope Hansen can build off his two-inning outing and finish the season with some positives.

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