General manager Rick Hahn has mixed feelings about the Sox’ start to the season.
Don’t get him wrong, he’s happy to see that young players, including shortstop Tim Anderson and third baseman Yoan Moncada, are off to promising starts. But he’s not content with the team’s record, which improved to 10-14 after a 12-11 victory against the Tigers on Friday night.
“The record’s not what we want it to be,” Hahn said before the game.
Hahn was also critical of some of the veterans who have been underperforming. Earlier in the day, the Sox designated pitcher Ervin Santana for assignment after he allowed 19 hits and 14 runs through 13⅓ innings in his first three starts.
But it isn’t just Santana who is struggling. First baseman Yonder Alonso (.185) and catcher Welington Castillo (.178) are both hitting below .200.
“Some of the more veteran-type players haven’t performed at the level they’ve historically shown,” Hahn said. “A handful of our other more veteran types haven’t quite gotten off right, which has probably had a greater impact on our wins and losses than we would’ve originally anticipated.
“It’s been frustrating at times when we’ve beaten ourselves, whether it’s through poor defense or bad decision-making. That’s the kind of thing that we feel like we can control a little bit more and I know Ricky [Renteria] and the staff are working hard to improve.”
But the positives might outweigh the negatives — at least for now. Moncada and Anderson seemingly have exceeded Hahn’s expectations.
Anderson is off to his best start at the plate in his major-league career. He leads the American League with a .402 batting average to go with five homers, including the game-winner Friday, and 16 RBI in 22 games.
Moncada also has been excellent, with a .323/.374/.596 slash line. He also has made his transition from second base to third base look effortless.
“There are definitely some things to be excited about,” Hahn said. “And that certainly begins with how some of our young players are performing, which is, in the end, of the utmost importance for our long-term success.”
Santana ripple effect
With Santana (0-2, 9.45 ERA) designated for assignment, Hahn said left-hander Manny Banuelos will get a chance to earn a permanent spot in the rotation. The Sox plugged Banuelos into the rotation for right-hander Lucas Giolito, who was put on the injured list April 18 with a hamstring injury and threw a bullpen Friday.
This season, Banuelos is 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA in five games (one start, four relief appearances). In his first start on April 22, Banuelos allowed five hits and zero runs while striking out four batters tin four innings in the Sox’ 12-2 victory against the Orioles.
Back in business
Sox prospect Luis Robert returned to play Friday after he was removed from a game for hand soreness last week.
Robert, who is hitting .475 with six homers, three triples, four doubles and 18 RBI in 14 games with Class A Winston-Salem this season, started in center field and hit leadoff for the Dash on Friday.
Hahn said that Robert’s injury wasn’t as severe as first thought. He said the outfielder had tenderness around his thumb from repetitive use, and that Robert would’ve returned Thursday if Winston-Salem had a game.