Chicago White Sox

Why White Sox are hopeful Yoan Moncada's first right-handed homer is sign of more to come

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USA TODAY

Why White Sox are hopeful Yoan Moncada's first right-handed homer is sign of more to come

He’s put in the work against left-handed pitching, but thus far Yoan Moncada hasn’t received the desired results.

The White Sox rookie is hopeful that Saturday night’s contest, when he hit his first-ever home run off a lefty in a 13-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants, is the first step toward that success. Moncada’s OPS against left-handed pitchers is nearly 200 points lower for his brief career than it is against righties. That’s led to questions from an impatient fan base about why he’s a switch-hitter instead of batting left-handed only. But Moncada thinks it’s important to not overthink the matter and continue to stick with an approach he ultimately believes will lead to success as long as he sticks to it.

“You have to keep to your approach, your motivation, your routine and I have to work hard every day,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “I have to be relentless in my work and in my approach, my preparation. That’s the only way I can do better and get the results that I want.”

While Moncada has performed OK against right-handed pitchers, he’s never fared well versus lefties. He has a .746 OPS against righties this season and was below .400 headed into Saturday against lefties.

But his solo homer off San Francisco’s Josh Osich was his first-ever and only his third extra-base hit of the season against a lefty. It raised Moncada’s OPS versus lefties to .507.

The White Sox think Moncada will improve with time and experience. To date he has only 50 plate appearances against southpaws compared with 110 against right-handers.

“He’s a young man who is gaining more and more experience,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Having more at-bats against lefties. Understanding what guys are trying to do with him. Trying to get pitches he can handle when he puts a swing on it. Trying to make good contact and on that one he did.”

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

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."