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Moncada on ASG snub: 'Did all that I had to do'

White Sox 3B sets sights on next Midsummer Classic, World Series
@scottmerkin
July 7, 2019

CHICAGO -- There’s little doubt Yoán Moncada has put up All-Star-worthy numbers during the first half of the 2019 season. But the White Sox third baseman has no disappointment over not being selected to play this Tuesday for the American League in Cleveland. “No, not really. I did all that

CHICAGO -- There’s little doubt Yoán Moncada has put up All-Star-worthy numbers during the first half of the 2019 season.

But the White Sox third baseman has no disappointment over not being selected to play this Tuesday for the American League in Cleveland.

“No, not really. I did all that I had to do,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “That was something I couldn’t control. It wasn’t on me. I had a very good first half. That’s what mattered for me. I’m very happy with it.”

Moncada, 24, struck out a Major League-leading 217 times and posted a .714 OPS during his first full season in the Majors in 2018. Although he knocked out 17 home runs, 32 doubles and six triples, the young switch-hitter was determined to put in the work this offseason to improve.

That work has definitely paid dividends. Moncada closed out the first half slashing .308/.364/.544, with 18 doubles, 16 homers, 48 RBIs and 49 runs. Over his last 14 games, Moncada has featured a .385 average.

“I put my best effort in the first half. I worked hard. I was able to carry over all the work that I put in during the offseason,” Moncada said. “I worked a lot then to have a better season overall, not just the first half. And I’m very confident I’ll been able to carry this to the second half, too.

“I’ve said this before, and everything is part of the process. You need to keep learning every day because every day you learn something new. Every time you learn something new, you try to apply it the next day. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can every day.”

So what’s the next part of the process for Moncada? He has a couple of pretty basic but elite goals.

“Being an All-Star. We couldn’t do it this year. Maybe next year,” Moncada said. “And of course, be a champion.”

Cease getting a little break

The White Sox have yet to announce their probables for the second half that begins with a 10-game road trip, which includes three against the A's, four against the Royals and three against the Rays. But it sounds as if rookie Dylan Cease, who won his Major League debut on Wednesday against the Tigers, will be waiting until the second game in Kansas City to make his second start.

Cease threw a bullpen session on Saturday and will throw another bullpen on Wednesday as he stays in Chicago over the break.

“I think the plan is to go Game 5 after, so prepare for that,” Cease said. “I'm not really categorizing it as good or bad. I'm going to do everything I can do to prepare for the next start.

“If you make things good or bad, it kind of gets in your mind. I'm just going to keep preparing. I'm not looking at it like it's weird, I'm just looking at it like it's something I'm going to have prepare for and do.”

Having this sort of break helps the White Sox manage Cease’s innings for the remainder of 2019, something they’ve been focused on since Spring Training. As for doing everything he can to be prepared, add meditation into the mix for Cease.

“It's just one of those things where anything you can do that might help, I'm willing to try,” Cease said. “At the end of the day, I don't know if I can quantify what it does for me. But I enjoy doing it, so I'm going to at least tell myself it's helping.”

Palka optioned

Following Sunday’s 3-1 White Sox victory over the Cubs, outfielder Daniel Palka was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. The White Sox will make a corresponding roster move prior to Friday’s second-half opener in Oakland.

Palka, 27, was a breakout player as a rookie in 2018 with 27 home runs. But he departs the White Sox for a second time this season with a 1-for-45 showing and two RBIs over 17 total games.

“He's got to continue to work,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “We brought him back. He was starting to make some strides when he went down. We were hoping it would continue here.

“Obviously, we faced a lot of lefties over the course of the last 2-3 weeks. We can see there is still some work to kind of get back on track. I'm sure he's going to do everything he can to do that. As [general manager Rick Hahn] tells everybody, 'Be prepared, because we do shuffle you guys up and down.'"

They said it

“I was looking for a homer to tie the game. But their plan was better than mine. They executed.”
-- All-Star Jose Abreu, on his approach against Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning on Saturday as the tying run at the plate with two outs. Abreu struck out swinging.

“Actually, just try to relax a little bit. It's been -- not just for our guys, for everybody's guys -- you're grinding. Sometimes you've got to take a step back, catch your breath a little bit.” -- Renteria, on what he wants his players to do over the All-Star break

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.