BOSTON -- Nearly three months since being placed on the injured list, Jon Jay made his season debut for the White Sox on Monday against the Red Sox.
The veteran outfielder, who went on the IL on March 25 because of a strained right hip, got the start in right field.
“Things happen,” Jay said before the series opener at Fenway Park. “I’m happy to be here today and looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Chicago manager Rick Renteria said the White Sox will look to determine Jay’s playing time -- “I don’t think it’s a guy I’ll play every single day, but will certainly get plenty of playing time and opportunities,” he said -- as well as a balance between outfielders. While Jay started in right in his return, he can play every outfield position.
“He can play center field,” Renteria said. “He’s actually an excellent defender. In terms of foot speed, he’s not the guy he was obviously a few years ago, but [he’s] a very, very good defender.”
Jay returned from his injury rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte and was reinstated him from the 60-day IL. He appeared in 16 rehab games between Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham, hitting .333 (21-63) with two doubles, seven RBIs and eight runs scored.
“He’s actually been a solid bat throughout his career,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He has shown well, both against lefties and righties.”
Jay, 34, agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the White Sox on January 10. He said he missed competing and being around his new teammates while rehabbing.
“We’re glad to have him,” Renteria said. “He’s been around the game for a while. Hopefully that experience and some of the things he can do between the lines will continue to help us move forward.”
The White Sox designated right-handed pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne for assignment in a corresponding move. Despaigne, 32, is 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA (14 earned runs in 13 1/3 IP) in three starts with the White Sox since having his contract purchased from Charlotte on June 10. He signed with the White Sox as a free agent on May 19.
Asked if right-hander Dylan Covey, who is on the 10-day IL with right shoulder inflammation, could replace Despaigne, Renteria said, “I think we've got to take it one day at a time, and then we'll determine what we'll do as he's continuing to recover and gets his outings under his belt. We don't want him to go down. We want to make sure we take a measured approach to bringing him back."
Moncada returns to Boston
It has been over two years since the White Sox acquired Yoán Moncada from the Red Sox in a 2016 trade involving Chris Sale. The Red Sox signed Moncada in ‘15, and he has established himself in the White Sox infield since joining Chicago.
“I originally signed with the Red Sox, but now I am part of the White Sox,” Moncada said, through a translator. “I enjoy it every time I come here because it’s a good ballpark to play.”
Moncada certainly looked like he enjoys playing at Fenway when he belted a 390-foot homer that exited the park at an exit velocity of 108.8 mph, according to Statcast. It was his first home run from the right side of the plate this the season. He went 2-for-3 in Monday night's 6-5 loss and has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games.
“I think he's barely scratching the surface of who he's going to be in the long-term,” Renteria said of the 24-year-old. “I think he's going to be an on-base guy. He's going to be a guy who has power. He's going to be an excellent defender, a Gold Glove-type defender. He's going to be a guy who has a chance to hopefully become an All-Star.”