White Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada cuts the cord with Red Sox
BOSTON — Yoan Moncada has cut the cord with the franchise that signed him for $31.5 million in 2015 and shelled out another $32 million in overage taxes.
Asked Thursday if he follows what the Red Sox are doing, Moncada, through an interpreter, said, ‘‘No, not really.’’
That came from the Fenway Park visitors’ clubhouse, where the centerpiece of the White Sox’ rebuild prepared to play the Red Sox in his first game back after missing two with a knee injury.
“My focus has been adjusting to my work,’’ Moncada, 22, said, “and I don’t have time for that.’’
While waiting for Moncada’s numbers to pop — he went 0-for-2 in the White Sox’ 9-5 loss to the Red Sox and is batting an even .100 after 40 at-bats — manager Rick Renteria seems the least bit worried because of the focus Moncada alluded to.
“He does some things out there,’’ Renteria said. “[He drew a] couple base on balls. Goes from first to third on a single, ends up scoring [twice], makes a play through the middle on the shortstop side.’’
Moncada also bobbled a similar difficult chance over the middle on an infield single, but “he comes in and says, ‘I took my eye off the ball.’ He knows exactly what he’s doing and what’s going on. He’s as astute a student of himself and what’s going on as I’ve seen. That’s impressive.’’
Appearing relaxed as always, Moncada said it felt good to be back, calling Fenway “a special place,” even though he appeared in only eight games last season after the Red Sox called him up from Class AA Portland, a move he said caught him off guard.
“I was playing in the minors, and then I was suddenly in the majors,’’ he said. “It was too fast.’’
The Red Sox sent him back after he struggled, but they weren’t out of surprises. They traded Cy Young candidate Chris Sale for him, Michael Kopech and two other prospects in December.
That also caught him off guard, but it’s all good, Moncada insists, even though the Red Sox are contending and looking good for years to come while the White Sox are struggling with an American League-worst 41-65 record.
“It was a good opportunity for me,’’ Moncada said. “Now I’m with this team, and I feel that was the best for me, that was the best for my career. I’m just glad it happened.’’
Moncada struggled with the Red Sox last season, going 4-for-19 with 12 strikeouts. He’s working a lot of deep counts and looking relaxed at the plate but not producing a whole lot. He’s 4-for-40 with eight walks.
All in all, the numbers aren’t much, but he seems to be doing the right things while his talent continues to carry the day.
“It’s pretty impressive,’’ Renteria said. “He’s working continually to develop approaches at the plate. When he puts the bat on the ball, it makes a little different sound. The ball comes off his bat pretty hot and pretty easy. He’s made some spectacular plays for us that are like eye-opening, jaw-dropping. We know as a young player he still has so much more in the tank.
“We’re happy with his at-bats. He’s very calm in the box. He’s a confident young man.’’
The loss was the 20th in the last 24 games for the White Sox. Miguel Gonzalez (5-10), their best pitcher of late with a 2.33 ERA in his previous three starts, recorded only five outs and got shelled for seven runs and seven hits, including home runs by Rafael Devers and Mookie Betts.
Nicky Delmonico hit his first career homer, a three-run shot against Rick Porcello (5-14), for the White Sox.
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