PHILADELPHIA — White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada’s breakout season temporarily has been derailed by a hamstring injury.
It pains Moncada to know he can’t help his teammates, and it hurts a struggling Sox lineup that sorely needs his .301/.358/.535 hitting line, 20 homers and 59 RBI.
‘‘It doesn’t feel good; it’s frustrating to be on the sidelines,’’ Moncada said through a translator before the Sox’ 3-2 loss Saturday to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. ‘‘You are here, but you want to be on the field helping your teammates. In this position, there is nothing to do.’’
Moncada has the physique of an NFL running back, but he said he has cut back on lifting heavy weights this season to ‘‘try to prevent this.’’
‘‘If you lift too much weight, your muscles can get tight and you can get injured or pull a hamstring,’’ he said.
Moncada strained his right hamstring while making a difficult play on a ground ball Tuesday against the Mets. The muscle was tight before the game, but he felt well enough to play through it, as players will do.
‘‘It feels a little better,’’ said Moncada, who was put on the 10-day injured list Thursday. ‘‘I still can feel a little soreness there, though. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll be pain-free when the 10 days are over or if I’ll need more time. We’re taking all the necessary care to improve. Once I don’t feel soreness, I’ll be ready to come back.’’
Without Moncada, the Sox (47-61) managed only one run — on an RBI double by Jon Jay — and three hits in seven innings against Phillies ace Aaron Nola (10-2), who struck out 10. The Sox, who lost for the 17th time in their last 22 games, were held to two runs or fewer for the eighth time in their last 11 games.
An RBI single by Yolmer Sanchez with two outs in the ninth against Nick Pivetta cut the Sox’ deficit to 3-2, but pinch hitter Adam Engel struck out with the tying run at third to end the game.
‘‘You hate to see a teammate go on the [IL], but we have to focus on what we’ve got,’’ Sanchez said. ‘‘We feel bad for Yoan; he’s one of our best hitters. You want to see him in the lineup every day.’’
The Sox got 5‰ innings of two-run, three-hit ball from left-hander Ross Detwiler (1-2). The runs came on homers by Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins in the fourth. Detwiler struck out six and walked one, and Sox relievers held the Phillies to one hit after that to keep the game close.
As a key piece of the Sox’ future, Moncada’s value will increase if he can stay on the field. He knows it.
‘‘I’ve hydrated as much as I can,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t know what else is left for me to try. I’ve taken the best care of myself.’’
‘‘He’s got a lot of lean tissue and a lot of muscle mass,’’ strength and conditioning director Allen Thomas said. ‘‘Right off the bat, those guys are asterisks because they have to stay hydrated.
‘‘Yes, you’re more susceptible when you have more muscle tissue and less fat. So we have to continue to educate him on staying hydrated. When you have a recurring injury, you’re susceptible. You’ve seen how many hamstring types he’s had. It’s something he has to stay up on and we have to stay up on.’’
Thomas said he’s confident Moncada won’t miss any longer than two weeks. He is eligible to come off the IL next weekend.
‘‘He is put together, and he doesn’t have a lot of fat on him,’’ Thomas said. ‘‘All these guys are jacked, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. . . . It’s part of the game.’’