Yoaning pains: Learning curve steep for Moncada

Yoaning pains: Learning curve steep for Moncada

SAN DIEGO -- After the Red Sox recorded a 5-1 victory over the Padres on Tuesday night, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made a point of giving top prospect Yoan Moncada a quick pep talk with the help of interpreter Daveson Perez.

Moncada struck out four times in Tuesday's contest. This, on the heels of three punchouts in Monday's 2-1 loss.

"He just told me to keep my head up and keep working hard because the big leagues are tough for someone who's new," Moncada said of his chat with Dombrowski. "This is something that happens."

A series of curveballs -- the likes of which Moncada did not see at Double-A Portland -- has been a frequent nemesis in the two days.

"They've thrown a lot of them and it's been throwing me off a little bit but just have got to work on seeing them better and making contact," Moncada said.

David Ortiz, Boston's legendary slugger, joined Dombrowski in making sure the 21-year-old Moncada kept his spirits up. Yes, even Ortiz has had 10 four-strikeout games in his tremendous career, the first of which came on Oct. 1, 1999, when he was 23 years old.

"[Ortiz] just told me that first of all, that happened to him when he first broke into the league," Moncada said. "He struck out four times in one game. And he told me that the game's not easy, it's a process and to just stay focused on getting better and playing my game."

It has been a whirlwind few days for Moncada, who learned Aug. 31 that he would be joining for the Red Sox for the stretch run. He produced a pair of two-hit games in his first two starts in the Majors in Oakland on Saturday and Sunday, before going into a tailspin the last two days.

Manager John Farrell will give Moncada a day to regroup on Wednesday, with Travis Shaw getting the start at third.

"He's getting pitched to," said Farrell. "He's seeing some things here for the first time. Three-two breaking balls for strikes, backdoor breaking balls from left-handers that I'm sure in Portland and in the Eastern League he's not going to see all that often. Not uncommon that some of these firsts are going to be challenges for him. These are growing opportunities for him."

Moncada seemed to be handling himself fine despite a couple of tough games.

"I had a couple of bad days but all I can do is keep working on what I've been working on and keep moving forward," Moncada said. "These won't be my first strikeouts and they won't be my last."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.