BOSTON — Yoan Moncada will join the lineup Monday and make his season debut when the White Sox open a home stand against the Cleveland Guardians at Guaranteed Rate Field, manager Tony La Russa said Sunday.
Moncada, who suffered a strained right oblique before the final spring training game, has played six games for Triple-A Charlotte on his rehab assignment. La Russa already knew Sunday that the switch-hitting third baseman would be batting second, with center fielder Luis Robert fourth.
“Moncada is swinging the bat well and he adds a lot to the lineup at that spot,” La Russa said.
Moncada was 7-for-22 with two home runs.
“We are excited to get him back, period. But add the exclamation mark with the way [Charlotte manager] Wes [Helms] is talking about how he’s working, great frame of mind and really getting the bat out. He’s ready now to help us.”
Right-handed reliever Joe Kelly is likely to join the team as well. Kelly, signed to a two-year, $17 million free agent deal in March, delayed his start to the season because of a nerve issue.
Kelly will give the bullpen a needed boost.
“Kelly, we are going to embrace him with open arms,” La Russa said.
Left-hander Aaron Bummer is dealing with a knee issue, La Russa said on his pregame radio show. And closer Liam Hendriks has pitched in six of the last eight days and was probably unavailable Sunday.
“This guy, he’s got a serious strength of competing and ‘let’s go get them,’ ” La Russa said of Hendriks. “He wants to pitch today.
“We told Liam don’t even put your spikes on. He said, ‘I have them on,’ ”
But Kendall Graveman, who had 10 saves with the Mariners last season and one with the Sox this year, will be the likely closer if needed. Or perhaps Matt Foster, La Russa said.
Vaughn not close to return
Outfielder Andrew Vaughn is eligible to come off the IL Thursday, but he probably wouldn’t be recovered from the bone bruise in his right hand by then. And when he is ready, he’ll need to do a rehab assignment.
“I don’t know how he can avoid that,” La Russa said. “There’s no way to get simulation at the big-league level. Unless you fly pitchers in to throw to them. And even then, it’s simulated. My guess is he’s going to take some at-bats. I don’t think it will be many because it hasn’t been that long.”
“It’s been good progress, still day to day. Able to take some easy swings off the tee now but there is still a good bit of pain in there,” Vaughn said. “It’s a bone bruise that has to feel its way out. I’ve heard once it’s done it will be a quick.”
Vaughn has used a tracking machine and stood in during pitchers bullpens to try and maintain his timing.
Hendriks has converted each of his last nine save chances, and is 9-for-10 this season. He has saves in each of the Sox wins in their five-game wining streak with batters going 0-for-15 against him. Nine of his last 10 appearances have been scoreless, and eight of his last 10 have been hitless.
La Russa told shortstop Tim Anderson he would have Sunday’s game off before Saturday’s game.
“Look, he’s playing at a high level, he’s hot so he’s on the bases all the time,” La Russa said. “So we were talking with the morning game, sometimes you just don’t play some guys. Tim is just resting. He feels good, he’s playing at a very high level.”
Red Sox scheduled starter Michael Wacha landed on the 15-day list with left intercostal irritation, retroactive to May 5. Former Sox right-hander Tyler Danish was recalled from Triple-A Worcester.