Thu, Mar 25, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Chicago White Sox received bad news today on their power-hitting outfielder, Eloy Jimenez. Jimenez is slated to miss anywhere from five to six months after suffering a ruptured pectoral tendon.
The White Sox announced the news on Thursday. Jimenez suffered the injury leaping at the wall in an attempt to rob a home run off Oakland Athletic Sean Murphy in a Spring Training game and will require surgery to repair it. As it stands right now, Jimenez could be in jeopardy of missing the entire 2021 season.
"Obviously a difficult loss for us, important part of our offense, and one that is a bit of a shock to the system," Hahn said Thursday.
"At the same time, if there was one area of this team that perhaps could withstand a significant blow, it would arguably be on the offensive side of things."
Just before the injury, reporters kept questioning whether or not Jimenez would be better served as the designated hitter for the White Sox instead of playing left field, where he has suffered multiple injuries since 2019.
"Our biggest concern is Eloy. He's the guy who's hurt. He's the guy that's got to go through the rehab," manager Tony La Russa said.
"As a team, you look at what you have, not what you don't have. We don't have him, but we have other guys. It's not going to be an open spot. Somebody's going to play there."
The White Sox made the playoffs in 2020 for the first time since 2008 and are hoping for a deeper run in 2021. That’s why the team hired La Russa as manager. The White Sox traded for Lance Lynn, signed Adam Eaton, and signed Liam Hendricks to add a reliable arm in the bullpen.
The lineup is one of the most potent in the American League, featuring Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, and Yoan Moncada. Jimenez made the lineup even deeper and his absence could impact the team’s overall performance at the plate.
The options to replace Jimenez in left field are not eye-opening and include Nick Williams, Adam Engel, Billy Hamilton, and Leury Garcia.
Jimenez was acquired via trade with the Chicago Cubs in 2017. He made his Major League debut in 2019, hitting 31 home runs. In the pandemic-shortened season of 2020, Jimenez hit .296 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs in 55 games.
"Fundamentally, he got hurt trying to make a play," Hahn said. "Was it the right decision to go for that ball, especially when put in the context of spring training? Perhaps not, but fundamentally you like the fact that he was trying to make the play.
"Ultimately, at some point in the much distant future, we'll talk to him and talk through a plan about perhaps making some better decisions or what we are (expecting) of him going forward from a defensive standpoint."
It remains to be seen how much of an impact the loss of Jimenez will be on the White Sox lineup, but it could affect their chances of a playoff appearance if his replacement struggles offensively.