White Sox second baseman hits first spring HR off Hammel, second off Herrera
By Doug Miller
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox got a good look at their future on Wednesday.
Second baseman Yoan Moncada, MLBPipeline.com's No. 2 ranked prospect in all of baseball, hit his first two home runs in a 7-3 Cactus League win against the Royals and maybe was able to breathe a bit easier in the midst of a spring that had seen him strike out 13 times in 30 at-bats while batting .200 entering this game.
"This is a process, and you know that you have to keep working in this process," said the 21-year-old -- who came over from Boston in the blockbuster Chris Sale trade this past offseason -- through an interpreter.
"You're going to have your ups and downs, but you have to keep doing your job."
Moncada's first blast came at a convenient time, with the two-run homer to right field tying the game at 2 in the bottom of the fifth inning on a full-count pitch against veteran righty Jason Hammel, who had been pitching a three-hit shutout through the first 4 1/3 innings. But Moncada rose to the moment after Rymer Liriano singled with one out and advanced to third base on two Kansas City throwing errors.
In the seventh inning, Moncada had the challenge of facing hard-throwing Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, but he was up to that task, too, sending one beyond the wall in left-center field to give Chicago a 6-2 lead.
Moncada, who now has nine RBIs in Cactus League play, celebrated the victory on the field with his 2-year-old son, Robinson.
"You have to keep working hard," said Moncada, a Cuban native who saw some big league time in Boston last year and figures to begin the regular season with Triple-A Charlotte.
"I'm very happy with the process, and I know that the results are going to be there when I need it."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.