Yoan Moncada’s struggles continue with 0-for-5 performance

Moncada made no excuses for his .133 batting average, with no home runs since May 14. The Sox desperately need a semblance of his 2021 production, when he had a .375 on-base percentage.

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago White Sox

Yoan Moncada injured his oblique prior to the final exhibition game, which disrupted his timing at the plate.

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Third baseman Yoan Moncada hit a single during the White Sox’ five-run eighth inning Friday that some interpreted as a potential springboard for him offensively.

But the process of returning to maximum production remains an ordeal, as evidenced by Moncada’s 0-for-5, three-strikeout performance in the Sox’ 11-9, 10-inning loss Saturday to the Rangers.

Moncada made no excuses for his .133 batting average this season and no home runs since May 14. The Sox desperately need a semblance of his production from 2021, when he had a .375 on-base percentage and showed an ability to carry the offense at times.

Moncada injured an oblique muscle before the final exhibition game this spring, which disrupted his timing at the plate.

‘‘Trying to find your rhythm and keep your rhythm is very complicated because you’re trying to do your best but trying to be cautious with your effort,’’ Moncada said. ‘‘You don’t want to the injury to get worse.’’

Moncada continues to work on getting sharp, and his defense at third base is superior to that of Jake Burger. But Burger has earned more playing time at designated hitter and third base because of his .346/.404/.788 slash line in his last 14 games, including a career-high seven-game hitting streak.

‘‘Moncada’s got the talent to be a difference-maker,’’ manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘I think he’s going to be. . . . There are ways to get Burger into the lineup; DH-ing him is one way. But I hope we continue to have that problem. We’ll figure out the playing time.’’

Curtain calls for Colson

Shortstop Colson Montgomery, the Sox’ first pick in the 2021 draft, entered play Saturday with a streak of reaching base in 22 consecutive games at Single-A Kannapolis. He is batting .301 with 10 doubles, four home runs and 23 RBI in 35 games.

Montgomery made a favorable impression on La Russa during the Sox’ minicamp in February.

‘‘He’s a good-looking, competitive quick study, willing to work,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘He’s as good of a prospect as there is, and we’ve got several like that, in my opinion.’’

Assistant general manager Chris Getz said he admires the maturity displayed by Montgomery and second-round pick Wes Kath (.234), each of whom graduated from high school one year ago.

‘‘Their belief in themselves, their passion for being pro baseball players, their aspirations to be major-league players, there are no questions in my mind,’’ Getz said. ‘‘And that is truly a testament to the scouting group in identifying players who are ready to play pro ball. They’re a joy to be around. They want to play every day. There is no panic in their game.’’

Kelly’s comeback

Reliever Joe Kelly will pitch a simulated game Sunday, with the expectation that he will embark on a rehab assignment shortly. Kelly hasn’t pitched since injuring his left hamstring May 25.

La Russa said right-hander Vince Velasquez (strained left groin) should be ready to come off the 15-day injured list when he’s eligible Wednesday.

‘‘We need to bolster that bullpen,’’ La Russa said.

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