White Sox activate OF Jiménez from 10-day injured list
CHICAGO (AP) — White Sox manager Rick Renteria sees Eloy Jiménez as an outfielder, even after his latest injury.
Jiménez was activated from the 10-day injured list Sunday and inserted into the starting lineup for Chicago’s series finale against the Minnesota Twins. The rookie slugger will be limited to designated hitter while he completes a throwing program after he was sidelined with a bruised ulnar nerve in his right arm.
“We’re still going to limit for him his outfield play as he continues to throw for the next few days,” Renteria said. “But we can at least get his bat in the lineup. He’s been doing a lot of work, looks really good. I’m sure he’ll be a little bit behind, but getting him back in there, just by putting him in there, creates a presence for us.”
The 22-year-old Jiménez is considered one of baseball’s top prospects. He is batting .244 with 17 homers and 39 RBIs heading into the matchup with the Twins.
But Jiménez’s adventures in left field have raised questions about whether his long-term future might be at DH.
He hurt his arm when he collided with teammate Charlie Tilson while chasing a long fly ball in the first inning of an 11-0 loss at Kansas City on July 16. He also missed time with a high right ankle sprain earlier this season after he crashed into the wall trying to catch a home run.
“He’s too young for me to view him as a DH, to be honest,” Renteria said. “And I think he’s shown so much improvement in the outfield that it would be, I think, derelict on my part and on our part as an organization to limit the ability for him to play on both sides of the baseball.
“We want to see if we can maximize his ability to do everything he can as a Major League Baseball player,” Renteria continued. “And then time will tell us. If that ends up ultimately being his lot — I don’t foresee that. But if that ultimately becomes his lot, that becomes his lot. But I think right now we’re going to continue to use him on both sides of the baseball, for sure.”
Jiménez made no effort to hide his preference.
“It’s hard to be focused on the game when you DH,” he said. “That’s why I don’t like being a DH.”
Infielder José Rondón was designated for assignment to make room for Jiménez on the roster. Rondón is hitting .197 with three homers in 55 games with Chicago this year. He was acquired in a trade with San Diego in January 2018 for cash.