White Sox’ Yoan Moncada feeling better, but he will test back before opener Thursday
Moncada will participate in the team’s optional workout Wednesday in Houston.
MESA, Ariz. — White Sox manager Pedro Grifol got a text from third baseman Yoan Moncada late Monday informing him that his back was feeling better.
‘‘That’s a good sign,’’ Grifol said Tuesday. ‘‘We’re in a good place.’’
Moncada, who exited the Sox’ Cactus League game Sunday after two innings with soreness in his lower back, will participate in the team’s optional workout Wednesday in Houston in advance of the season opener Thursday against the Astros.
Grifol downplayed the severity of Moncada’s soreness but said his status for Thursday ‘‘all depends on [Wednesday].’’
‘‘Hopefully tomorrow he’ll get out there and the adrenaline will be flowing a little bit,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘And the work they’ve done the last couple of days, hopefully they’re on top of it. There’s nothing anybody is really concerned about.
‘‘We’ll evaluate it then. But right now he’s feeling good, which is a good sign.’’
Eloy in right field?
‘‘Eloy Jimenez, Opening Day right fielder’’ was probably not something the Sox were envisioning at the start of spring training — designated hitter was the smart bet — but it’s a possibility with Astros left-hander Framber Valdez starting Thursday.
All things considered — tough lefty, Opening Day, loud stadium, national-TV game against the defending World Series champions — it would be a tough matchup for left-handed-hitting prospect Oscar Colas.
With Andrew Benintendi taking over left field, Jimenez moved to right this spring and will be given an opportunity to prove he won’t be a defensive liability there. That remains to be seen for a player who has ranked among the worst defenders in left field, a position that requires less arm strength than right.
To Jimenez’s credit, he came to camp 30 pounds lighter and determined to prove it.
‘‘We’re going to need everybody to do many different things throughout the course of the year,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘He’s a special bat.’’
Colas figures to be the everyday right fielder, and he won’t always be rested against lefties.
‘‘I’ve spoken to [Jimenez]; I’ll continue to speak to him,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘But at the end of the day, we’ll do what’s best for this ballclub, whether he’s in right field or whether he’s DH-ing. That’s going to be a day-to-day thing, series-to-series, or how we are health-wise, what’s our bench and what’s our matchups.’’
Deep six for Romy
Romy Gonzalez hit his sixth home run of the spring — and fifth in his last six games — Tuesday against the Cubs. An infielder by trade, Gonzalez played three games in left field, five in center and seven in right this spring. He might be an option in right Thursday.
‘‘Romy is a powerful guy,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘He’s shown it here. He hit the ball [Monday] as hard as you can possibly hit a baseball. And the fact he can run and do a lot of things makes him really valuable.’’
Gonzalez’s power, speed and versatility is a ‘‘unique skill set,’’ Grifol said.
It might not end there. Grifol asked Gonzalez to get sized for catcher’s gear in case he needs an emergency catcher.
Cubs 8, Sox 5
• In their final starts of the spring, Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito looked ready for the regular season. Michael Kopech and Mike Clevinger? Not so much. Kopech (7.11 ERA) struck out seven in 4⅓ innings but gave up five runs, five hits and three walks against a mostly minor-league lineup in the Sox’ Cactus League finale. His velocity was 92 to 94 mph.
‘‘I showed all four pitches, so there were positive takeaways, but I have to be more efficient,’’ Kopech said. ‘‘It wasn’t a great spring for me results-wise, but the good news is that I can go into the season with a clean slate and more of an intentional focus.’’
• Romy Gonzalez hit his sixth home run of the spring and singled, and Andrew Vaughn — finishing strong after being sidelined by a sore back — played first base for the second consecutive day and hit his second homer of the spring. The Sox finished 12-14-3 this spring.
• On deck: Optional workout Wednesday in Houston. The Opening Day roster will be made official after the workout. Opening Day: Sox at Astros, 6:08 p.m. Thursday, Cease vs. Framber Valdez, ESPN, 1000-AM.