Guillen’s advice on Moncada: ‘Just let him play’
Ozzie Guillen flashed back to 1992, when, as a White Sox shortstop, he collided with left fielder Tim Raines on a fly ball and suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Guillen was in an announcers booth Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field doing a Spanish broadcast of the Sox’ game against the Blue Jays when, in the sixth inning, second baseman Yoan Moncada and right fielder Willy Garcia collided going for a fly ball in short right.
The crash, with Moncada’s knee hitting Garcia in the head and putting him on the seven-day disabled list (concussion), looked more serious when Moncada was taken off on a cart. But the No. 1 prospect in baseball said Tuesday that he expects to miss two or three days with a bruise above his knee. Manager Rick Renteria called Moncada day-to-day.
Guillen, like most everyone else, has been impressed with Moncada’s talent. But he liked that Moncada and Garcia were going all-out.
“It’s nice to watch kids playing hard, no matter what,’’ said Guillen, manager of the Sox’ 2005 World Series championship team.
It was nice for the Sox to know that this phase of Moncada’s major-league development, which began July 19 with his call-up from Class AAA Charlotte, won’t be impeded by what looked like a serious injury. Guillen would like to see Moncada bat second in front of Jose Abreu to get more protection, but he said the most important thing for Moncada right now is to not be overcoached.
“He looks good around second base,’’ Guillen said. “Good speed, good power. Just don’t change him. Just let him play. If he goes 0-for-8, don’t say, ‘Start doing this and do that.’ If a guy strikes out a few times, all of a sudden he starts [pressing and] swinging at the first pitch. Let him play, especially now.’’
Moncada is 4-for-38 with a home run, six RBI and 16 strikeouts, so the concern is that he changes a patient approach that has generally looked good. Guillen also hopes Moncada isn’t too hard on himself.
“I do worry about Cuban players because they’re so proud,’’ Guillen said. “When they do bad, to get them out of there is impossible. I had El Duque [Orlando Hernandez], [Jose] Contreras, the Missile [Alexei Ramirez]. Every time they had a bad week or bad month, they didn’t even want to come to the park because they were embarrassed. They feel like they’re not doing their job. Contreras once said, ‘Don’t pay me this month because I didn’t pitch good.’ ’’
There seem to be no such alarms sounding near Moncada.
“You can press, especially being here for the first time,’’ second-year catcher Omar Narvaez said. “I remember my first game, my knees were shaking. You have so much energy and want to do everything right. But Moncada will show up, so much talent. We’re not worried.’’
The Moncada watch has been put on hold, but only for a couple of days, it appears.
“We were running full speed,’’ Moncada said. “At the last minute I saw him, and I was trying to avoid him, and I tried to jump, but it was too late and I couldn’t do anything.
“After the collision, I was concerned about the knee because I was in a lot of pain. But once they brought me in here, they told me it was nothing serious, and I feel relieved. The treatment is just ice and doing some squats. But I think in two or three days I’ll be ready to play a game.’’
Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.