NEW YORK — Eloy Jimenez’s memorable Friday night at Yankee Stadium — the prized rookie slugger hit the first two home runs of his career in consecutive at-bats — was the highlight of the White Sox’ young season. But you might not have known it, judging by manager Rick Renteria’s reaction after the game.
Renteria kind of ho-hummed the feat, putting him in the company of none at the stadium.
“No, I was really excited,” Renteria said Saturday morning.
Really? Could’ve fooled us.
“A lot of times, people get giddy when you start to see validations of what a guy is projected to be,’’ Renteria said. “If I think he’s going to be what he’s going to be, there’s nothing for me to get too overly excited about. I’ll get more excited about a consistency over an extended period of time. Talk to me in two or three months.”
The Sox signed Jimenez to a six-year, $43 million contract before he saw a major-league pitch, so these are the kinds of performances they expect. He had one extra-base hit before Friday, though, and went 0-for-3 in the Sox’ 4-0 loss Saturday.
“Do I see him having some bumps and bruises? Absolutely,” Renteria said. “Do I think he’ll be a fantastic hitter? Yeah. But I’m looking for consistency. And how they rise to the occasion in the moments they have. My giddiness will come when the White Sox put a crown on that door as a champion. That’s the goal.
“When it all comes together, it will be nice to see.”
Jimenez had a group of 25 relatives, including his parents, on hand to witness his first homers. Many of them live in New York.
Yoan Moncada had 449 of his 649 plate appearances in 2018 in the leadoff spot, which was by design to get him as many at-bats as possible in his first full season. This season, Moncada has led off once, batted second seven times and fifth five times.
As Moncada’s career unfolds, Renteria envisions the 23-year-old switch hitter batting anywhere from second to fifth, with the roster around him helping to dictate where he might settle in.
“He’s showing really good signs with his right-handed swing to put him in a consistent slot,’’ Renteria said. “He has the power of a No. 4 hitter and the ability to take an extra base like a leadoff hitter.”
Rodon looks for bounce-back
Opening Day starter Carlos Rodon starts the rubber game of the Yankees series Sunday, looking to bounce back from his uneven start against the Rays in which he allowed four runs in 4„ innings. He struck out nine but walked five.
“It definitely is frustrating,” said Rodon, who was excellent in six innings with no earned runs, one walk and nine strikeouts against the Indians in the start before that one.
Rodon said he has been too reliant on his premium slider in his first three starts but said he’ll get back to using his changeup more.
“It will make the whole repertoire better,” he said. “Early contact on changeups will help the pitch count. And when I throw more changeups, it helps the fastball command.”
Tim Anderson’s 10-game hitting streak came to an end, the longest streak by a Sox player to start a season since Alexei Ramirez (17 games) and Conor Gillaspie (14) started hot in 2014.