Welington Castillo

After short stint in the majors, White Sox send Zack Collins to Triple-A

After short stint in the majors, White Sox send Zack Collins to Triple-A

When general manager Rick Hahn has talked about bringing up key prospects, he says he wants those players to be able to come up to the majors and stay there. That won't be the case with Zack Collins.

The White Sox sent the catcher down to Triple-A Charlotte following Monday's 5-2 loss to the Royals. No corresponding move will be made until Tuesday, but it is expected Welington Castillo will return from his rehab stint and rejoin the White Sox.

Collins was called up on June 18, but only played in nine games with seven starts in his 28 days on the big league roster. Collins drew a pinch-hit walk in his first plate appearance at the Cubs on June 19. He then homered two days later in his first start in Texas.

After that, Collins struggled. He goes back to Charlotte after hitting .077 (2-for-26) with five walks, the one home run and 14 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances.

It's unclear if Collins had a chance to stick on the roster or if the plan was for him to go back to Triple-A once Castillo was ready to return. Collins certainly didn't do himself any favors at the plate, but he also didn't see regular playing time.

Collins, a first-round pick in 2016, was seen working out at first base in fielding practice before games, but he stuck to catcher and DH. He could have played some first base or DH when Castillo returned. However, the White Sox claimed A.J. Reed off waivers and he debuted after the all-star break. Reed has taken the at-bats at DH, leaving Collins without regular at-bats.

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White Sox officially promote Zack Collins to major league team as Welington Castillo goes on IL

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USA TODAY

White Sox officially promote Zack Collins to major league team as Welington Castillo goes on IL

Zack Collins is a big leaguer.

Multiple reports indicated that Collins would be promoted ahead of Tuesday's Crosstown game against the Cubs, and that's exactly what the White Sox did, announcing the move Tuesday morning.

Additionally, the team placed Welington Castillo on the injured list with a strained left oblique. He left Sunday afternoon's game against the New York Yankees with what the team announced as lower back tightness.

While Rick Renteria has yet to speak on the matter, the catching situation figures to be not too dissimilar from what it's been, with James McCann getting the bulk of the playing time while appearing as the designated hitter on days when he doesn't catch. Collins will likely take over Castillo's catching duties and also see time as the DH.

Collins' arrival marks another step forward in Rick Hahn's rebuilding project. The 2016 first-round pick is ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the White Sox loaded farm system. Praised for his offensive abilities, Collins finished the 2018 season with a .382 on-base percentage and launched 15 homers at Double-A Birmingham. This season, he posted a .250/.374/.482 slash line with nine homers, nine doubles, 39 RBIs and 36 walks in 50 games at Triple-A Charlotte.

Adding another future piece to the mix at the major league level only makes the opening of the contention window in 2020 look more realistic, as Collins will join Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Tim Anderson and, eventually, Dylan Cease with a sizable amount of major league experience heading into that campaign.

Collins' promotion doesn't figure to be a temporary one that comes to an end once Castillo is healthy. Hahn and Renteria have spoken on multiple occasions about how they don't want to call these top prospects up and have to send them back down. It's happened before, of course, most recently with Carson Fulmer, the White Sox top pick in the draft before they selected Collins. But it's a road they'd rather not go down and an explanation they've given for keeping highly rated prospects such as Jimenez and Michael Kopech in the minors as long as they did.

There are questions about Collins' game, mostly on the defensive side of things. But the White Sox feel he's ready for his first taste of the major leagues, adding another piece of the rebuilding puzzle to the big league squad.

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Yoan Moncada continues battle with back issues

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USA TODAY

Yoan Moncada continues battle with back issues

Yoan Moncada's battle with his back issues might not be as over as we thought.

The third baseman made his return to the White Sox starting lineup Sunday following a four-game layoff due to a mild back strain. But his return didn't last long. After a fourth-inning strikeout in his second plate appearance of the 10-3 loss to the visiting New York Yankees, Moncada was removed from the game with what the team announced as upper back tightness.

Moncada is described as day to day. The White Sox have an off day Monday ahead of the start of a two-game Crosstown series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.

"He's doing good. I think I'm not the only one who noticed his grimace in the swing. It made no sense to continue to expose him to that," manager Rick Renteria said after Sunday's game. "All indications are he should be ready to go on Tuesday.

"Didn't seem to put him in any predicament. Hopefully it didn't set him back. All indications are that hopefully he'll be back on Tuesday."

Moncada was removed from Monday's game against the Washington Nationals with what was initially described as back spasms. Renteria updated the verbiage to a back strain in the following days. Moncada missed Tuesday's game against the Nationals, went through a Wednesday off day and then missed the first three games of the four-game weekend set with the Yankees. His return lasted all of four innings Sunday before he was taken out again.

"Just watching the swing, watching the finish, which is what I was concerned with, getting through the ball. He's ready to get through the ball, it's just the finish. He's feeling a little something there," Renteria said. "You can't replicate it in any drill work. We've tried to do it. 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 at. 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."

Moncada wasn't the only White Sox hitter removed from Sunday's game. Welington Castillo, who was the designated hitter, was taken out with what the team announced as lower back tightness. Renteria confirmed after the game that Castillo's injury came on his swing in the second inning, a line drive off the center-field wall that ended up as only a single. Castillo will be reevaluated during the off day Monday.

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