Moncada gearing up for switch to third?

Renteria: 'Don't be surprised if you see him there Opening Day'

February 18th, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- has been working almost exclusively at third base while taking ground balls at Camelback Ranch over the past three days of White Sox Spring Training. That work indicates the possible first step of a position switch, one discussed by the team this offseason for the 23-year-old who played second base for the White Sox in 2018.

"We are going to work him over there as much as we can during the spring. And don't be surprised if you see him there Opening Day," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria. "The reality is the more flexibility we have with him, the more he knows what he can do.

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"It's one of those things where we want to be able to see and keep ourselves open to all the possibilities and see if he can handle it. There's no better time than Spring Training. He's been working over the winter on it a little bit. As we see him continue to work, we will be able to make a determination as to where he's at and how good he might be able to be."

Moncada spoke to the media hours before Renteria on Monday, talking about being in a better overall position than he was at this time last year. He wasn't sure about a position switch at that point but seemed open to the opportunity.

"I'm just here to help the team in whatever capacity they need me," said Moncada through interpreter Billy Russo. "If they ask me to play that position, I'll do it.

"I've played that position before. I feel good at third base. I like that position and with more repetitions, I will feel even better."

Moving Moncada to third means would return to his natural position at second. Moncada committed 21 errors at second last season, the highest in the Majors at his position. It also opens up a future spot for Nick Madrigal, the team's top pick in the 2018 Draft, whom MLB Pipeline rates as the team's No. 5 prospect.

But what about , the premium free agent targeted by the White Sox? If he picks the White Sox, Moncada could return to second with Machado taking over at third. There's also the chance of Machado playing shortstop, which changes the infield alignment yet again involving incumbent .

That Machado possibility is not a present focus for Renteria.

"I can't worry about who's not here. I've been focused on the guys that are here," Renteria said. "I have to move forward that way. And like any team, anything can happen.

"You make adjustments as those changes occur, if they occur. Right now, the guys that are in that locker room are the ones that I'm most focused on. And we're trying to make sense of how our roster will look and how our lineups will look with the guys that we do have."

Herrera switches sides

Right-handed reliever has allowed five earned runs over 30 innings and 31 career appearances at Guaranteed Rate Field. Those outings came with the Royals, with Herrera now moving within the American League Central to work for the White Sox.

"You have to understand this is a sport where today you're here, tomorrow you don't know where you're going to be," Herrera said. "I know this is a process.

"In this division, I've been watching this team, and I like that they play hard, a lot of enthusiasm. You see a lot of young talent here and I think we can do great things for this organization."

Herrera made his last 2018 appearance Aug. 26 for Washington when he suffered a torn Lisfranc ligament in his left foot. He is working his way toward being ready for Opening Day in a return to Kauffman Stadium against the Royals.

Renteria addresses the team

Renteria addressed his players Monday on the first day that the whole roster was in camp.

"Good message, I thought. Had a lot of guys interacting and being a part of it," Renteria said. "All things being equal, we got across what we needed to get across.

"We are trending in the right direction, that's all I'm going to tell you. We've got high expectations. So, it was a very positive message I thought."

They said it

"I don't let that get in my head. Just go out there and compete as best that I can and perform as best I can. Let the results do the talking. I'm not here to compare myself to other people." -- Luis Gonzalez, the No. 14 White Sox prospect, on potentially being overlooked amid the plethora of top-rated outfielders in the system.