Chicago White Sox

Did Jose Abreu's red-hot bats help Yoan Moncada have a career night?

Did Jose Abreu's red-hot bats help Yoan Moncada have a career night?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yoan Moncada used a bat red-hot Jose Abreu gave to him in batting practice and produced the first three-hit game of his career.

The rookie tripled and singled twice in six trips as the White Sox trounced the Kansas City Royals 11-3 at Kauffman Stadium. Moncada also nearly drew a walk but didn’t get the benefit of the doubt from plate ump Ryan Blakney in a fourth-inning strikeout.

Moncada attributed part of his performance to feeling loose after talking to Abreu, who nearly had his second cycle in three days. Abreu finished a homer shy of the feat.

“When you are around a guy like him you feel confident because he will always be there for advice,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “I felt very confident and loose today. I don't know why, but he made an order of bats for me and I was swinging those bats today. It was the bat I used during the game and I felt really good. Just little things like that he does for us has a good impact on us.”

Moncada’s big night started early when he ripped an RBI triple down the right-field line in the first inning to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. The three-bagger came off a Jason Hammel slider and exited Moncada’s bat at 109 mph.

Moncada carried a .143 average on sliders into the at-bat.

An inning later, Moncada lined a Hammel fastball the opposite way for an RBI single to left.

The second baseman then completed his night with a single off a left-handed pitcher, a liner to right. Moncada brought a .159 average with a .518 OPS into the at-bat lefty Ryan Butcher.

“We’ve talked about Moncada’s trying to do some hitting with offspeed pitches, secondary pitches,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Today he did that. Couple of knocks from both sides of the plate.”

Moncada has impressed the White Sox with the way he’s stuck to his patient approach throughout his first seven weeks with them. All parties feel that if Moncada sticks with his approach he’ll produce more consistently.

Perhaps all he needs is for Abreu to stay hot. Moncada has enjoyed Abreu’s hot streak over the last month. He was rooting for the slugger to complete his second cycle with a homer — Abreu drew a walk in the ninth.

Moncada also played a part in making sure Abreu had the chance to accomplish the feat again. Had he not beat out a potential double play ball, Abreu wouldn’t have hit.

That was probably a good thing for Moncada from a trash talking standpoint.

“He would have made a lot of fun of me,” Moncada said. “I told him before the game I would get on base every time for him to drive me in. He did it a few times and that was good.”

Moncada wasn’t the only White Sox rookie to star on Monday. Reynaldo Lopez earned his first White Sox victory with six-plus innings pitched (three earned runs). Center fielder Adam Engel also went 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and a hit by pitch.

Geovany Soto details ‘total destruction’ of Puerto Rico after speaking with family

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USA TODAY

Geovany Soto details ‘total destruction’ of Puerto Rico after speaking with family

Geovany Soto’s family in Puerto Rico is safe after Hurricane Maria slammed into the island, leaving at least 24 people dead and virtually all residents without power.

The White Sox catcher said he spoke to his family Wednesday on the phone and they were in good spirits. Soto’s mom, dad and in-laws are in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while his wife and kids are with him in the U.S.

Soto said it’s “total destruction” on the island right now, and the best thing he can do to assist is sending necessary items.

“It’s really tough,” Soto said. “I talked to my parents and the toughest part is you have the money, you can buy batteries but there’s nothing left. So, the best thing I could probably do is kind of from over here is sending batteries, sending anything that I can think of that’s valuable for them right now.” 

Puerto Rico is still in emergency protocol as rescue efforts continue two days after the storm plowed onto land as a Category 4 hurricane. Just seeing the images was hard for Soto. 

"It was unbelievable," he said "You know it’s coming. It’s an island. It’s not like you can evacuate and go where? We don’t have a road that goes to Florida. It is what it is. We try to do the best that we can do with the preparation that they gave us. After you’ve done everything you just kind of brace yourself and keep good spirits and hope for the best."

Soto usually travels to Puerto Rico after the season, but because of the damage, he has yet to make a decision on when, or if, he'll go. 

The veteran catcher is the only Puerto Rican player on the Sox, but manager Rick Renteria's wife also has family on the island. 

"They're doing fine, thankfully," Renteria said. "I think that we expect to hear a little bit more in the next couple days."

Carson Fulmer wants one more start for White Sox this season

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USA TODAY

Carson Fulmer wants one more start for White Sox this season

Carson Fulmer doesn’t want his last start of the season to be one in which he recorded only one out, but another appearance isn’t guaranteed quite yet.

The White Sox 2015 first-round pick was forced from Thursday night’s game after struggling with a blister on his throwing hand. He lasted only three batters, two of which he walked.

“Obviously, nothing’s really wrong with me physically,” Fulmer said. “Arm feels great, body feels awesome, just a blister that got kind of raw. I just need to take a couple days, let it come back and make my next start.”

Whether he gets the ball again depends on the healing process. With only eight games remaining, Rick Renteria won’t commit to giving the 23-year-old another start until he knows the blister won’t be an issue.

“It’d be premature for me to say anything about that,” Renteria said. “Obviously when you’re holding the baseball in a very sensitive spot with your fingers, you got to be able to feel comfortable with it.”

The blister came during Fulmer’s best stretch in the majors. He threw six innings in each of his past two starts, allowing only one earned run in both. On his Sept. 10 start against the Giants, he whiffed a career-high nine batters.

Despite having to, in essence, miss Thursday’s start, Fulmer isn’t worried about being taken out of his groove.

“I don’t think my momentum is going to go anywhere,” he said. “The bullpen I threw yesterday before the game was really, really good. Just had some issues with some of the stuff that was covering it, started cutting some balls here and there and it was tough to throw a cutter sometimes just because of the pressure I put on it.”

Even with the White Sox seemingly taking a cautious approach to protect their young prospects, each start is valuable experience for Fulmer. He will likely be competing against the likes of Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez and possible veteran free agent signings for a back end rotation spot come Spring Training, and pitching well against big league hitting now could go a long way in securing the role.

"I threw 160, 170 innings this year and haven't had an issue with (injury)," Fulmer said. 

"I'm going to do everything I can to get back out there."