Moncada Era begins as White Sox host Dodgers (Jul 19, 2017)

BY AP • July 19, 2017

CHICAGO -- The Yoan Moncada Era begins in Chicago on Wednesday as the White Sox host the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers in the finale of a two-game interleague series.

Moncada, the game's consensus top prospect who arrived from Boston in the Chris Sale trade over the winter, was called up from Triple-A Charlotte late Tuesday night.

The move came on the heels of the White Sox trading third baseman Todd Frazier and right-handed relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees for a package of players including Blake Rutherford, New York's top outfield prospect.

"We are bringing him here to continue the development that needs to take place in Chicago," White Sox senior vice president/general manager Rick Hahn said of Moncada, who figures to become the White Sox's regular second baseman. "He still has some work to do. He's obviously still very young. But we feel that he's ready for that next challenge that comes at the big league level."

Moncada had a slash line of .282/.377/.447 with 12 home runs, 36 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 361 plate appearances this season at Triple-A Charlotte, but he struck out 100 times.

"There's going to be growing pains here," Hahn said. "He's not a finished product. I don't suspect any of these players as they make their debut here in the coming months and years, no matter how highly anticipated they may be, there's still going to be an element of development that's going to happen in Chicago.

"The thought is it's time for Yoan to get that opportunity to take that next step."

Moncada made his major league debut with the Red Sox last September and was 4-for-19 (.211) with 12 strikeouts in eight games.

Los Angeles (65-29) won the series opener 1-0 on Tuesday for its 10th straight victory and 30th in its last 34 games.

"We have the best team in baseball right now, yes," closer Kenley Jensen told the Chicago Tribune. "If we continue to improve and get better, and get ready, hopefully we get back in the playoffs and once we get back we'll take care of it from there."

The Dodgers are also 56-18 since rookie Cody Bellinger joined the club. Bellinger, who drove in the only run Tuesday, has 26 home runs since April 25 -- the most in baseball.

"What (Bellinger's) done for us has been huge," Los Angeles shortstop Corey Seager said recently. "Not even his performance, but the excitement. He brought the energy back in the clubhouse. You see a guy like that going out and succeeding, having fun, a big smile on his face all the time, that rubs off on people."

The Dodgers sent right-hander Kenta Maeda (7-4, 4.38 ERA) to the mound Wednesday against Chicago lefty Carlos Rodon (1-2, 4.32) on Wednesday in the series finale.

Maeda last pitched on July 7 against the Kansas City Royals, giving up one run on four hits over five innings in a 4-1 victory. He is 6-2 with a 3.20 ERA and a save while holding hitters to a .224 average in his past 12 games (10 starts).

Rodon makes his fourth start of the season since returning from the 60-day disabled list June 28. He took the loss in his last outing July 9 at Colorado, giving up a season-high six runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings as Chicago dropped a 10-0 decision.

"It's a good-hitting team, man," Rodon said of the Rockies. "I tried to stay aggressive, (but) not much of anything was working.

"I was kind of inconsistent in and out of zone. The slider wasn't there, but I tried to make things happen. They make you pay."

Neither pitcher has faced the opponent before.

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