GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Yoan Moncada is still trying to familiarize himself with the White Sox but his new club probably don’t feel all that unfamiliar.
At the very least, the rookie second baseman has a strong support group in his first week of spring training. Whether is a seat next to Jose Abreu in the clubhouse, chats with Jose Quintana on the field, or the comfort provided with a manager who speaks the same language, the White Sox clearly want their prized prospect to adapt to his new team. Already in town for the past few days, Moncada participated in the club’s first full-squad workout on Saturday at Camelback Ranch.
“I’m just trying to get to know the culture here, the guys, the staff, the players, how they like to work,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “And so far I’ve been good. Also, the change of the city and state, especially in spring training, I’m getting to know that a little bit better right now.”
Moncada’s comfort is only likely to grow now that Abreu is also in town. The veteran first baseman reported to camp around noon on Saturday (his flight was delayed by weather) and took his physical. Abreu and Moncada played together in 2012 for Cienfuegos and they spent much of the weekend at SoxFest together having fun. Abreu has spoke glowingly about Moncada, who came over from Boston in the Chris Sale trade, and is interested in helping him get comfortable at the big league level. Moncada, who debuted last season, likes having Abreu around.
“That’s a good advantage for me,” Moncada said. “I know him. He knows me. We played together in Cuba. We haven’t yet had the opportunity to practice together. Today was our first day and he wasn’t here, but that’s something that is going to be very good for me.”
So too is the addition of manager Rick Renteria, who is bilingual and addressed his clubhouse in both languages on Saturday. While he’s only getting to know his new teammates and coaches, Moncada is comfortable with the knowledge he can clearly communicate with the man in charge. All those elements should pave the way for Moncada to maximize his development in camp rather than worry about things off the field.
“He’s an excellent manager,” Moncada said. “He can speak both languages, especially Spanish for me, I can communicate with him. That’s a huge advantage for me and I like that. I think that we are going to have a very good season and we are just waiting for the season to start.”