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It took three tries, but a bothersome left hamstring finally sent Yoan Moncada to the disabled list.
The White Sox placed Moncada on the 10-day DL, sticking with “tightness” for the official description. They called up Jose Rondon to take his place. Leury Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez will likely take the playing time at second, but Rondon did get a plate appearance late in Saturday’s loss to Minnesota.
Moncada exited three different games before hitting the DL — April 21 against Houston, Wednesday’s game against St. Louis and Friday’s game against the Twins. The frequency of these disappearances made it easy to wonder why the Sox didn’t give him a break sooner.
Yet it’s pretty easy to see why the White Sox didn’t want to shelve Moncada through this period — he kept hitting. Since leaving the April 21 game against Houston with hamstring tightness, Moncada hit .340/.415/.660 over 53 plate appearances. Yes, he struck out 18 times over that span, but he opened May with a far more reasonable two strikeouts over 12 plate appearances.
Basically, while the hamstring had occasionally sidelined Moncada, it didn’t slow his growth. Reps being this season’s currency, it made sense to let him try to play through it, assuming he couldn’t do any further damage to the leg or form bad habits to compensate. The Sox said an MRI showed no issues, so Moncada may have stolen some games at no additional cost.
The bigger issue might’ve been making Rick Renteria work with a short bench. The eight-man bullpen is probably goin to stay as long as Sox starters get lifted in the fourth inning, and with Welington Castillo weathering testicular trauma for a second straight season, Renteria’s cast of healthy reserves was whichever outfield didn’t start that day.
The hope is that Moncada comes back with a minimal time missed and ground lost. In the meantime, Tim Anderson might be here to make up for the lack of intrinsic excitement. He shook off a 1-for-21 slump by belting two homers and a double on Saturday, and he extended his errorless streak to a season-high eight games. Throw in Sanchez and Garcia each batting over .350 to start May, and the Sox might have enough infield production to bide the time. Pitching, on the other hand…