Tim Raines

Yoan Moncada joins Frank Thomas in White Sox history books

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AP

Yoan Moncada joins Frank Thomas in White Sox history books

Yoan Moncada has only been with the White Sox for a few months and he's already etched himself in the record books next to a Hall of Famer.

The White Sox rookie second baseman had the best statistical game of his career in Thursday's 17-7 clobbering of the Detroit Tigers.

Moncada reached base six times vs. the Tigers, becoming the youngest White Sox player to accomplish the feat since Frank Thomas in 1990.

Moncada also notched a career-high four hits, cranked out his 5th home run of the season and scored five runs.

Moncada's five runs vs. the Tigers also put him in the same company as a recent Hall of Famer.

Moncada now owns a .229/.353/.407 slash line with five home runs and 15 RBI in 38 games with the White Sox in 2017.

Cubs won’t look outside for leadoff hitter when they have Anthony Rizzo and pitching priorities

Cubs won’t look outside for leadoff hitter when they have Anthony Rizzo and pitching priorities

This conventional idea of a leadoff hitter is an endangered species, a rare commodity like the young, top-of-the-rotation starter the Cubs will prioritize at the July 31 trade deadline. 

“You never rule out anything,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “If it makes us better, then we’ll talk about doing it. But pitching’s the priority, now and this winter. We know that’s organizationally where we need to go.” 

Plus, the Cubs already have the greatest leadoff hitter of all-time. Just ask Anthony Rizzo, who’s clearly enjoying an experiment that manager Joe Maddon doesn’t plan to end anytime soon.

Rizzo’s leadoff streak of getting on base in seven straight games — home run, home run, walk, single, double, single, home run — ended Wednesday afternoon when he flied out to right field against Miguel Diaz during a 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field. No other Cub since 1946 had done that except for Richie Ashburn near the end of his Hall of Fame career in 1960. 

“Honestly, I’m just keeping an open mind,” Maddon said. “I did not have a set number of days to do it. Just watch it and let it play out. Just see where it goes eventually.

“A lot of it’s dependent upon other guys surfacing. If somebody all of a sudden gets hot – and you think you can do something differently – then I might. But otherwise, I’m just going to leave it alone for a bit.”

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In anointing Kyle Schwarber as his leadoff guy in spring training, Maddon pointed to the Geek Department projections and the intimidation factor in seeing a hitter who can do damage with the first pitch. Schwarber — who’s hitting .174 and doesn’t have the same presence that made him a World Series legend — didn’t last in that role.

But the game is trending away from batting average and stolen bases. There really aren’t many prototypical leadoff talents like Lou Brock and Tim Raines available. That’s why the St. Louis Cardinals gave Dexter Fowler a five-year, $82.5 million contract. 

Rizzo is a good leadoff hitter because he is a good hitter. This snapped a career-high 14-game hitting streak, and he had already been heating up long before Maddon’s desperation move, posting a .445 on-base percentage in his previous 39 games since May 7.

“I’ve always thought that there are certain guys that have the leadoff mentality,” Maddon said. “Some guys just don’t like to be the first guy up there. They want to see other guys hit first. They want that information coming back to the dugout.

“It’s just a mindset. It’s somebody that obviously has the tools, meaning they probably see some pitches. They get on base a lot. They’re willing to accept their walks. And it’s nice when they also have some power, too. But I think, more than anything, it’s mindset. And having said that, Anthony likes to do this.”

Tim Raines played with cocaine in back pocket during Hall of Fame career

Tim Raines played with cocaine in back pocket during Hall of Fame career

Behind the curtains of Tim Raines' illustrious Hall of Fame career was a kid struggling with a drug addiction that nearly derailed a path to stardom.

One of the greatest players to ever wear a Montreal Expos and White Sox uniform, Raines opened up to CSN's Chuck Garfien on the latest White Sox Talk Podcast about a cocaine addiction he was dealing with early on in his MLB career.

Raines talked about carrying a vial of cocaine in his back pocket and how he would fall asleep in the dugout during games.

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Raines started to sense there was a problem during a plate appearance in his second MLB season.

"I remember in an at bat. The only reason why I remember this is because the guy threw me a pitch and I ducked out of the way like the ball was going to hit me," Raines told Garfien. "The umpire called it a strike and I looked back at the umpire like 'The ball almost hit me.' And he goes 'The ball is right down the middle of the plate.' I'm like, 'Huh? Either you're blind or I'm blind.'

"I end up looking at the footage of the pitch and sure enough the ball was right down the middle. I was seeing things."

Watch the video above from Wednesday's In the Loop to see what else Raines had to say about his drug problem.