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Taking stock of the White Sox rebuild after split

@scottmerkin
June 16, 2019

CHICAGO -- The White Sox ended up with a four-game split with the Yankees, completing their weekend series at Guaranteed Rate Field with a 10-3 setback before 37,277 fans on Sunday afternoon. The split is the good news. They also won the season series, 4-3, against one of baseball’s best

CHICAGO -- The White Sox ended up with a four-game split with the Yankees, completing their weekend series at Guaranteed Rate Field with a 10-3 setback before 37,277 fans on Sunday afternoon.

The split is the good news. They also won the season series, 4-3, against one of baseball’s best teams, which is even more encouraging. Losing the final two contests of this set, played before sellouts on Saturday and Sunday, makes the big picture slightly less exciting.

Box score

But let’s look at this final game through the rebuild lens, as there were major moments (good and bad) involving players who are helping the White Sox in the present but also players who could be a part of the team’s promising future.

Moncada and Castillo leave early

Yoán Moncada returned to the lineup -- playing third and hitting sixth -- after not playing since Monday due to a mid-back strain. He walked in his first at-bat in the second and struck out in the fourth but was noticeably wincing on certain swings during both trips to the plate.

José Rondón replaced Moncada at third in the top of the fifth, with Moncada leaving due to upper back tightness according to the club. Although back injuries can be tricky and painfully ongoing, White Sox manager Rick Renteria believes Moncada will be back in action during the team’s next game, Tuesday night against the Cubs.

“He's ready to get through the ball, it's just the finish. He's feeling a little something there. You can't replicate it in any drill work. We've tried to do it,” Renteria said. “Everything he did was good. All the work he did was good.

“Everything we tried to do to replicate it, it wasn't existent until you get into the game, then you know. That's why I think it was a good ... I don't know if you want to call it a test, but it was a test. We wanted to see where he was. Didn't make any sense to continue to push him. Get him ready and calm it down and get him ready for the series against the North Siders.”

Designated hitter and catcher Welington Castillo left with lower back tightness in the fourth, replaced by pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso. Castillo will be re-evaluated Monday, and a trip to the injured list could be possible.

McCann homers in second straight game

When 29-year-old veteran catcher James McCann joined the team as a free agent, he wasn’t exactly considered a core piece amongst this young crew. But McCann has proven to be one of the team’s most valuable players through 70 games and homered Sunday in front of his wife, Jessica, and twin 18-month-old sons, Christian and Kane.

“They see a Sox logo and it’s ‘Dada, dada, dada.’ They love baseball,” said McCann of his sons. “They see it on TV even if I’m sitting there with them, they think dada is playing. It’s a lot of fun. They are starting to hit the ball off the tee and their favorite toy is bats and balls.”

McCann’s home run in the 8th inning on Sunday was his sixth in 48 games this season.

Abreu finishes 3-for-4

José Abreu's hit total in the loss included his 17th home run of the season, in the first inning off Yankees starter James Paxton. Abreu now has 163 career home runs, putting him two away from surpassing Jermaine Dye and claiming sole possession of seventh place on the franchise’s all-time list. He is nine away from passing Robin Ventura for sixth and is hitting .524 (11-for-21) over his last five games.

White Sox in good shape overall

Odrisamer Despaigne was touched up for seven runs over 4 1/3 innings in the loss, including a five-run Yankees third. The 32-year-old doesn’t factor hugely into the White Sox long term rebuild so his performance isn’t as much of a concern when looking at the overall state of the rebuild.

“It’s not the way we wanted to finish today,” McCann said. “But overall you have to be happy with taking a season series from a team that is one of the best in baseball.”

The White Sox reportedly are calling up Zack Collins, a former First Round Draft pick and the No. 11 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline.

In the overall scheme of things, this series and the 3-3 homestand would not be considered a negative for the White Sox. Abreu is heating up, Collins could provide another youthful boost for fans to enjoy and a season-series win against the Yankees is nothing to scoff at.

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