Yoan Moncada took it like he takes everything else — in stride.
Calm and collected through his rough, eye-opening times of 2018 and the same during his superb first half of 2019, Moncada isn’t upset, miffed or disappointed about not being selected for the All-Star Game despite worthy numbers.
“It wasn’t on me,” Moncada said Sunday through a translator. “It was something I couldn’t control. I did all that I had to do. I had a very good first half.”
To his credit, Moncada said an unsatisfactory 2018 season, his first full one in the majors, was on him. He went to work early in the offseason to fix things and became less passive at the plate, and the results were evident in spring training, even as he transitioned from second base to third.
Moncada, 1-for-3 with a walk in the Sox’ 3-1 victory against the Cubs on Sunday, goes into the All-Star break with a career-high 13-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the majors. He needs one home run, 13 RBI and 18 extra-base hits to match his 2018 totals of 17 homers, 61 RBI and 55 extra-base hits. His numbers batting right-handed, his weaker side, have improved, as well.
“I don’t want to jinx the kid, but he’s on pace to have a pretty good year in all facets — cutting down on strikeouts, homers, RBI, on-base, everything you would want to look for,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s all playing forward, and hopefully it continues. He’s trending in the right direction.”
Jose Abreu, James McCann and Lucas Giolito will represent the Sox in the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Cleveland.
“We couldn’t do it this year. Maybe next year,” Moncada said, “as well as being a champion.”
Next for Cease
Renteria hasn’t shared how his rotation will be set up when the Sox visit the A’s on Friday, but Dylan Cease, who made his major-league debut with five innings of three-run ball Wednesday against the Tigers, indicated he’ll pitch the fifth game out of the break, which would be July 16 against the host Royals.
That’s a long layoff, during which Cease will meditate daily, as is his habit.
“It’s one of those things where there’s a structure, it’s a stability through my day, so no matter what, I’m going to do that during the day,” Cease said. “You feel that accomplishment, but at the same time, I feel like it’s helping me, so it’s kind of a double whammy.”
Cease’s interest was piqued a couple years ago by a YouTube video, and he took particular interest in Indian Yogi Sadhguru.
“I don’t know if I can quantify what it does for me,” he said. “But I enjoy doing it, so I’m going to at least tell myself it’s helping.”
Palka returns to Charlotte
Outfielder Daniel Palka was optioned to Class AAA Charlotte after the game. Palka, 1-for-45 this season, is 0-for-10 since being recalled June 28. The Sox will make a corresponding move Friday, possibly catcher Welington Castillo (oblique strain) coming off the injured list.