CLEVELAND — Heading into the last month of his first full season, White Sox rookie Eloy Jimenez views it the way most observers do: a mixed bag.
“It’s been some moments of good, some moments of frustration,” Jimenez said Monday. “But it’s been amazing because I’ve learned a lot about the major leagues. The competition here is much better than anywhere.”
Jimenez, batting .247/.296/.454 after going 2-for-5 with two singles against the Indians, is confident he will improve on what he has done now that he knows how pitchers attack him.
“I’m going to be better,” he promised. “This year has been hard because I’ve been on the injured list two times. Every time I start to feel better and get comfortable, I get those [ankle and elbow] problems. But it’s going to be better next year.”
Manager Rick Renteria would like to see the long-legged, 6-4 Jimenez come out of the crouch in his stance to help him handle pitches up in the zone more consistently, and while Jimenez said, “I feel really good with it because I’ve had it my whole career,” he said he expects to make adjustments during the offseason.
“I don’t know exactly yet, but we’ll figure it out in the offseason,” he said.
The change might only need to be minor, hitting coach Todd Steverson said, because Jimenez batted .337/.384/.577 with 22 homers and 28 doubles in 108 games in the minor leagues last year with his current stance.
Jimenez’s 22 homers ranked first among American League rookies, and he was second with 169 total bases despite having only 10 doubles.
“We’re OK with where he’s at for a first-year player,” Steverson said. “But he hasn’t been hot all year. But he has still held his own. That says there’s something there. Some tweaks, refining, put some oil on that and turn a screw here with the experience and knowledge he has, that will make it easier and better to make those adjustments. But for me, the kid has survived at the big-league level — and decently — despite not being at his best. That bodes well for him and us.”
Class AAA Charlotte’s late 1-7 fade, culminating with a 7-6 loss to Norfolk on Monday, eliminated the Knights from an International League playoff berth. A few players will be called up to expand the September roster, but Luis Robert, Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year, and Nick Madrigal (who had five hits Monday) are not expected among them.
“Not many,” Renteria said when asked about a number.
Infielder Danny Mendick, right-handers Dylan Covey and Jose Ruiz and catcher-first baseman Zack Collins are among the possibilities.
Left-hander Manny Banuelos and righty Carson Fulmer were added to the roster Sunday.
Covey (2.62 ERA at Charlotte) pitched 6‰ innings of two-run ball Monday.
Call-ups could affect the rotation in September, with Monday starter Ross Detwiler far from penciled in down the stretch.
Covey, Banuelos or Hector Santiago could be used as starters, although Fulmer is locked in as a reliever now, Renteria said.
“Right now, we’re not making any plans of changing the rotation, but we know we have guys available that can slot in there if we need to,” Renteria said.