MESA, Ariz. — Second baseman Yoan Moncada was ready Monday for his first Cactus League start with the White Sox. It came against the World Series champion Cubs.
‘‘I’m excited to see them and the atmosphere against them,’’ Moncada said through a translator before the game.
The Cubs were excited to see Moncada, too.
‘‘It will be fun to see him in person,’’ said Cubs president Theo Epstein, noting it cost the Red Sox $63 million to sign him, including a $31.5 million bonus and a substantial overage tax. ‘‘That was rare territory.’’
Indeed. But Moncada, the No. 2 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America and MLBpipeline.com, is considered a rare talent. He was acquired from the Red Sox with three other prospects in the trade for ace left-hander Chris Sale.
Moncada hasn’t shown much at the plate so far, but it’s a bit soon to draw conclusions. He made a nice play in the field and struck out twice in two plate appearances against the Cubs. He’s 0-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts in three games.
‘‘I’ve been feeling good,’’ Moncada said. ‘‘The atmosphere here is good.’’
The Sox have been working with Moncada in the field, making minor adjustments to give him more stability on his feet.
‘‘I’ve been working on it,’’ Moncada said. ‘‘It’s nothing really hard, but you have to make adjustments. I’m trying to have my legs a little more open.
‘‘My focus is just to try to get better in every aspect of the game — my offense, my defense and my baserunning, too. It’s the mentality we have here right now, and I’m just trying to take advantage of it.’’
Frazier gets into swing
Third baseman Todd Frazier (strained oblique muscle) returned to baseball activity, taking 30 swings and fielding 30 ground balls.
‘‘Knock on wood, we’re where we need to be,’’ Frazier said. ‘‘See how we feel [Tuesday]. You never know. Some people don’t believe [it was a] mild strain, but it really was.’’
Frazier said he doesn’t need much game time to be ready for the season.
‘‘There is no rush,’’ manager Rick Renteria said.
Abreu heads to Miami
The Sox said first baseman Jose Abreu left for Miami after the game to tend to personal matters and is expected back Wednesday.
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