As a season full of injuries rolls on, the White Sox are still finding it difficult to get all, or even most of their envisioned starting lineup on the field at the same time.
Though Luis Robert and Yasmani Grandal were back after missing some time due to hand and back injuries, respectively, the White Sox were without Yoán Moncada for the first of three games against the Crosstown-rival Cubs on Friday.
According to manager Rick Renteria, Moncada's absence was a cause of the same kind of thing the team has discussed about their third baseman since before the season started. Moncada missed two weeks of the three-week "Summer Camp" while on the injured list following his positive COVID-19 test. While he was able to be a part of the team's Opening Day roster, he was likely going to get off days here and there as the team moved forward in an effort to help him with any soreness from working his way into game shape so quickly.
"Just managing his legs a little bit," Renteria said when asked why Moncada was out of the lineup Friday. "You guys have seen him kind of grinding it out a little bit. Maybe this will just calm it down and we'll be able to get him back in there tomorrow, maybe use him for a special at-bat or something today. That's basically all it is.
"We're constantly keeping our eye on how he's moving around the bases and how he's reacting. I think, just in having conversations, it was probably a good idea right now to give him a little break today and like I said, he's still available to us. But we want to manage those legs.
"These guys are very strong and they can push themselves, and maybe I can just help them kind of calm it down a little bit, let those legs cool off a little bit and be ready for some big moment, maybe today or tomorrow."
Plenty of social-media questioners wondered why Renteria didn't choose to "manage Moncada's legs" during the recent four-game series against the Detroit Tigers, a four-game sweep in which the White Sox won each game by an average of five and a half runs, and instead chose the first game of a high-profile series against the NL Central-leading Cubs.
But it might not be that easy. Moncada has been spotted hobbling a bit when running to first in recent games, and Thursday afternoon, he nearly collided with Eloy Jiménez in left field on the final out of the game. It's quite possible the general leg fatigue that's been discussed for weeks caught up with him in a more serious way Friday.
Whatever the reason, Renteria was still confident Moncada could be used, if needed, in a pinch Friday and return to the starting lineup Saturday.