White Sox’ Eloy Jimenez can’t keep losing fights with the wall

Every time Jimenez’s potent bat is out of the lineup because of a mishap in the outfield, questions are raised about his defensive limitations and his future as a left fielder.

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Eloy Jimenez leaves the game with trainer James Kruk with an apparent injury in the 2nd inning against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 26, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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CLEVELAND — Every time Eloy Jimenez’s potent bat is out of the lineup because of a mishap in the outfield, questions are raised about the defensive limitations and his future as a left fielder.

After missing almost three full games, Jimenez returned to the White Sox lineup Wednesday and delivered a deep sacrifice fly to center to give the Sox a 2-0 lead in the ninth inning in a much-needed 4-0 victory over the Indians. He crashed into the left-field wall chasing the Twins’ Jake Cave’s home run Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field, and began to feel “super dizzy” from the blow and missed time while under concussion protocol.

Jimenez’s bat — a potential force in the middle of the Sox lineup for years to come — was missed.

As manager Rick Renteria said, “there’s an understanding of where the [warning] track is at.”

As Jimenez said, “I’ve had two fights with the wall and the wall beat me twice. Wall 2, Eloy zero.”

Jimenez went on the 10-day injured list with a bruised right ulnar nerve last July when he collided with Charlie Tilson in the outfield, and was out 3½ weeks with a high right ankle sprain when he crashed into the wall chasing a home run against the Tigers on April 26.

In 122 games, he hit 31 homers and drove in 79 runs. Had he stayed healthy, he might have approached 40 homers.

“I think he’ll learn from that experience,” Renteria said. “We definitely talked about it almost immediately after it happened.

“He’s getting better out there and again, I’ll continue to reiterate my belief that he’ll be a very good left fielder for us.”

Say this for Jimenez, he has worked at getting better and he said the work won’t stop.

“I feel really comfortable [in the outfield],” he said. “It just happened. It was something I never expect. But I keep working and getting better.”

Lambert to IL

Right-hander Jimmy Lambert, who was off to a promising start with two scoreless relief appearances in his comeback from Tommy John surgery, was put on the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain. Right-hander Matt Foster was recalled from the Schaumburg training facility.

Lambert pitched the ninth inning in a victory Sunday against the Twins, and he worked the fifth inning and allowed one hit with a strikeout in the 5-3 loss to the Indians in Game 2 of Tuesday’s doubleheader. 

Foster, 25, combined to go 4-1 with a 3.20 ERA, five saves and 74 strikeouts over 43 relief appearances in 64 2/3 innings between Class AA Birmingham and Class AAA Charlotte last season. He averaged 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings and limited opponents to a .211 batting average.

Lambert was pitching in relief but has been viewed as a potential starter in the near future.

Foster, who has no major-league experience, has been working with the taxi squad in Schaumburg.

This and that

Infielder Cheslor Cuthbert cleared waivers and was outrighted to the Schaumburg training facility.

• Head athletic trainer Brian Ball has been away from the team attending to a personal matter. Assistant trainer James Kruk is assuming Ball’s role during his absence.

Luis Robert followed a two-run single in the ninth with his first career stolen base.

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