Moncada rejoins White Sox after positive COVID-19 test

CHICAGO (AP) — Star third baseman Yoán Moncada has rejoined the Chicago White Sox after missing the start of their summer camp because he contracted the coronavirus.

Moncada revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 on a video conference call with reporters Thursday. He said he lost his sense of smell and taste for a few days but didn’t experience any major symptoms and feels good now.

Still, he said it was a “very difficult time” and “a little scary.”

“I wanted to be on the field, but I had to stay at home. I couldn’t leave my house,” Moncada said through a translator. “I stayed there the whole time.”

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He worked out at the ballpark Thursday with the White Sox and hopes to be in the lineup for the July 24 season opener against Minnesota.

“I can tell that I feel my legs are a little tired because of all the time I was inactive,” Moncada said. “But I think I know my body. I’m going to be ready pretty soon. I won’t need too much time.”

Moncada and pitcher José Ruiz were placed on the injured list last week because of unspecified ailments. While Moncada is in major league camp and Ruiz is going to work out at the team’s taxi-squad site in Schaumburg, the White Sox said that doesn’t mean they were taken off the IL.

“I never thought I had it before I tested positive,” Moncada said. “When I got the results it was a little scary because I didn’t know how it would affect me, what kind of symptoms I would develop. But thank God I felt good for the most part.”

“I’m just glad to be back and to be healthy,” he added.

The 25-year-old Moncada was acquired in the December 2016 trade that sent Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox. Long regarded as one of baseball’s top prospects, the switch-hitter broke out last season when he set career highs with a .315 batting average, 25 homers and 79 RBIs.

The Cuban slugger finalized a $70 million, five-year contract with the White Sox in March.

Manager Rick Renteria also is back with the team after leaving camp last week to go home to California for a family funeral.

Renteria said Moncada looked good swinging the bat Thursday but a little rusty fielding grounders.

“Everybody’s excited that he’s back,” Renteria said. “A big, big piece of the puzzle.”

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