White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada initially took Boston’s offseason decision to trade him in a package for ace Chris Sale “as a very personal rejection,” his father, David, told Eli Saslow of ESPN The Magazine. But, thanks in part to teammate and first baseman Jose Abreu, Moncada has adjusted well to the changing of Sox. Abreu, a fellow Cuban, texted Moncada the night of the trade and told him that “this team gets it,” in reference to the White Sox’s history of employing Cuban-born players. Their relationship has continued to grow since, and the 21-year-old Moncada, arguably the best prospect in baseball, now regards Abreu as a “mentor and friend whose example I can only hope to follow.”
More on Chicago and three other American League teams:
- The White Sox scratched left-hander Carlos Rodon from his start Friday because of tightness in his bicep, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago was among those to report. There’s no structural damage, and manager Rick Renteria said the team’s initial exam was “positive,” but Rodon will nonetheless go for an MRI (all Twitter links). “Odds are” Rodon will begin the season on the disabled list, according to general manager Rick Hahn, who noted that the White Sox “are going to err on the side of caution here, even if it winds up costing him his first couple starts” (Twitter links via Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune and Hayes). That makes sense considering the 24-year-old Rodon is one of the rebuilding White Sox’s most important cogs. Thus far in his career, the two-year veteran has logged a 3.90 ERA, 9.08 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 across 304 1/3 innings.
- Rangers manager Jeff Banister all but confirmed Friday that right-hander A.J. Griffin has locked down a rotation spot, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Grant reported earlier Friday that a starting job was likely for Griffin, who will slot in behind Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels and Martin Perez. The banged-up Andrew Cashner could rejoin the Rangers by April 15, the first time they’ll need a fifth starter.
- Thanks to the “dead arm” that slowed Astros righty Collin McHugh earlier this spring, he likely won’t be ready for the beginning of the season, manager A.J. Hinch informed Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). McHugh’s absence will deprive the Astros of a quality starter, though they do have a promising No. 6 on hand in Joe Musgrove, who looked like a major league-caliber rotation piece in his 62-inning debut last season (4.06 ERA, 7.98 K/9, 2.32 BB/9).
- The Yankees optioned righty Luis Cessa to Triple-A on Friday, thereby ending his bid to claim one of the two open spots in their rotation. Cessa, who had been competing against Luis Severino, Bryan Mitchell, Chad Green, Adam Warren and dark-horse Jordan Montgomery, allowed seven earned runs on 13 hits and four walks in 9 2/3 spring innings. As a rookie last season, the 24-year-old made 17 appearances (nine starts) and posted a 4.35 ERA, 5.89 K/9 and 1.79 BB/9 in 70 1/3 frames.