GLENDALE, Ariz. – A day after hitting a go-ahead pinch home run in his first game in 15 days, White Sox prized prospect Eloy Jimenez did even more.
Batting fifth and playing right field in his first spring start, Jimenez homered to right field on an 0-1 fastball from left-hander Patrick Corbin. His next time up, he showed that the tendinitis in his left knee that had sidelined him for two weeks is better by dashing to third on a triple. That came on a liner to center field.
Rust? What rust?
“Not really [rusty],’’ said the 6-4, 220-pound Jimenez, ranked as the No. 4 prospect by Baseball America. “I believe in myself. I know I can do this. It doesn’t matter if I stay out two weeks or six months.’’
In the Sox’ 6-5 victory Sunday over the Arizona Diamondbacks, Jimenez, 21, walked on four pitches his third time up before being removed for a pinch runner. He also handled three fly balls hit to either side in right field without incident.
Jimenez has 68 at-bats above Class A and will start the season at Class AA Birmingham. Fans’ patience will be tested while he’s there, or at Class AAA Charlotte.
So will Jimenez’s.
“I’m just going to do the things I know I can do, and they have to make their decision,’’ he said.
Reynaldo Lopez, who pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings, has been impressed by Jimenez like everyone else.
“It’s hard to believe all the things he’s doing,” Lopez said. “When you see a guy like him with his talent but he’s always talking about how pitchers are going to pitch him, how he prepares for specific pitching, and counts. It’s impressive. I don’t know how he does it, but it shows you he’s special. He has a lot of talent.”
And that’s not all
Jose Abreu hit his second homer, and Yoan Moncada hit his first. Yolmer Sanchez (.394) and Matt Davidson each had two singles.
Lopez says he’s ready
Lopez lowered his spring ERA to 0.96 with 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, pitching around three hits and two walks and striking out one. Lopez pitched out of jams in the first two innings, which he viewed as good practice for when the real games begin.
“When those situations happen during the season, I’ll be prepared,” Lopez said.
Lopez said he felt ready to start the season, which begins in 18 days.
Yes and no
Lefty Robbie Ross struck out two in 1 2/3 innings, his second scoreless relief appearance. Prospect Dane Dunning got clobbered for five runs and five hits, getting only two outs in the seventh.
Sox at Mariners, Peoria, Dylan Cease vs. Marco Gonzales, 8:40 p.m., Monday, 720-AM. Miguel Gonzalez pitches in a B Game vs. Dodgers at Camelback Ranch (noon CST).