WBC-bound Yoan Moncada makes impresson on new manager

Moncada says he, like everyone in White Sox’ clubhouse, “has something to prove.”

SHARE WBC-bound Yoan Moncada makes impresson on new manager
White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada works out during a spring training practice.

White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada works out during a spring training practice.

Matt York/AP

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Playing in the World Baseball Classic comes with a risk of injury. Seeing third baseman Yoan Moncada — who has had more than his share of bruises, pulls and strains — representing Cuba isn’t necessarily a win-win for the White Sox.

But the chance to fulfill a dream led Moncada to train in the offseason in a way he believes bodes well for his health and performance in 2023 after he batted .212/.273/.353 with 12 homers in 104 games for the Sox last season.

“I did everything,” Moncada said through a translator. “Took better care of my body [and did] exercises to be more athletic and move better.”

Because of the WBC games in March, Moncada is with the early arrivals among Sox position players, who aren’t required to report to camp until Monday. First-year manager Pedro Grifol raved about Moncada’s mindset.

“I’ve been impressed with Moncada since I got hired,” Grifol said Thursday. “He’s returned every phone call. He’s answered every text. He got here early. He’s in shape. He’s hungry for information. He’s been available. He’s asked questions.”

Moncada strained an oblique on the last day of camp last season and was out until May 8. He said he tried to come back too soon and never got untracked.

“But you know what? That’s in the past,” he said. “That was last year.

“Everybody here has something to prove.”

Clubhouse reacts to Clevinger

Sox pitchers Joe Kelly, Kendall Graveman and Dylan Cease shared thoughts after offseason addition Mike Clevinger spoke to his new teammates Wednesday about MLB investigating him over allegations of domestic abuse.

“It takes a lot of [guts] to do something like that, right?” Kelly said. “I don’t know anything about the allegations. I don’t really keep up with all that. I know, for him, it’s probably weighing on his mind every single second or minute. You kind of have to just let things like these play out.”

Said Graveman: “I thought it was very professional for Mike to speak in front of the team. Obviously, I don’t have much to say about it. I want to see how the rest of it plays out. [But] Mike did an outstanding job of articulating and communicating with us [Wednesday] — I will say that.

Added Cease: “If he’s on the team, we are obviously going to treat him like a teammate. . . . It definitely was a good idea [to stand up] because there’s been a lot of attention around it. It was good to address and kind of put it out there so there wasn’t that awkward tension.”

This and that

Shortstop Tim Anderson and outfielder Luis Robert participated in workouts. They’re early arrivals in part because they’re also playing in WBC games in March. Robert says he wants to be recognized as Luis Robert Jr. going forward.

• Right-hander Michael Kopech, bothered by a sore knee last season, is another early arrival. He’s “on pace” and “in a really good frame of mind,” Grifol said.

• Catcher Yasmani Grandal, another Sox player slowed by injuries in 2022, is “getting after it out there,” Grifol said. “He’s not just getting after it body-wise — he’s getting after it with fundamentals, relationships and doing whatever he needs to do to have a bounce-back year,” Grifol said.

• Graveman on his role this year: “To rack up saves or holds, it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to get this team to the playoffs. You have that feeling after last year that we’re going to move in that direction, just to win baseball games. Whenever Pedro tells me to go pitch, I told him to his face, I’ll go pitch.”

The Latest
The man was attempting to cross the roadway in the 3800 block of South Lake Shore Drive when he was hit by a vehicle going north.
About 9:30 p.m., officers responded to reports of a person stabbed and found the man in the 4300 block of West 26th Street.
Anthony Calderon, 20, was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Arturo Cantu.
A dedicated servant to the team, the Fire are winless in six matches and it’s bothering Klopas that he cannot find a fix.
The nonprofit wants to open a fourth school that would double as a venue with a bar, in a “significant step forward” as it also looks to offer an affordable performance space for artists.