Since returning from a sore thumb that landed him on the seven-day disabled list, Charlotte Knights second baseman Yoan Moncada, baseball’s No. 1 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, had struggled at the plate.
Moncada batted .143 in his first 18 games back, a far cry from the .331 average he posted in 34 games before the injury. Once imminent, a return to the Majors seemed further away than at any other point this season.
But if the last five games of Charlotte’s six-game homestand against the Louisville Bats and Indianapolis Indians are any indication, Moncada finally seems to be turning a corner.
During that span, Moncada went 9-for-21 with a home run, five RBIs and six runs scored. The stretch was highlighted by a 4-for-4 effort on Friday, marking his second four-hit performance of the season.
Tuesday: In his third and final rehab start for the Knights, Chicago White Sox starter James Shields (lat strain) allowed two runs on six hits over five innings. He was saddled with the loss after Charlotte tallied just five hits in the 5-2 defeat against the Bats.
Wednesday: After Louisville tied the game at 3 in the top of the seventh inning, Wednesday’s game went into extras, with the Knights pulling off a 4-3 walk-off win on a wild pitch in the 13th.
Thursday: Charlotte trailed 3-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, when Jacob May ignited a five-run frame on his three-run triple. Zack Burdi ultimately sealed the 6-4 win over the Bats, pitching a scoreless 1 2/3 innings to notch his first save since May 15.
Friday: Carson Blair, Nicky Delmonico, Danny Hayes and Moncada each homered, accounting for four of the Knights’ 16 hits in a 12-4 victory over Indianapolis.
Saturday: Charlotte entered the bottom of ninth inning trailing 6-2. Cody Asche and Roberto Pena hit back-to-back home runs in the frame, and the Knights loaded the bases with two outs. However, Charlotte added only one more run and fell 6-5 against the Indians.
Sunday: The Knights led 9-7 entering the ninth inning, when reliever Bobby Parnell surrendered five runs of four hits. Charlotte tacked on two runs in the bottom of the inning but ultimately lost 12-11.
What’s next: The Knights embark on a seven-game road trip against the Gwinnett Braves and Durham Bulls, starting with Monday’s 7:05 p.m. contest against Gwinnett.
Pat James: @patjames24