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Eloy Jimenez’s status for Game 1 of White Sox’ wild-card series still uncertain

After left fielder Eloy Jimenez worked out Monday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum, his status for the Sox’ first playoff game in 12 years Tuesday was still uncertain because of a mid right foot sprain.

White Sox’s Eloy Jimenez is questionable for Tuesday’s playoff game because of a mid-right foot sprain.
White Sox’s Eloy Jimenez is questionable for Tuesday’s playoff game because of a mid-right foot sprain.
Jeff Chiu/AP

After left fielder Eloy Jimenez worked out Monday at Oakland Coliseum, his status for the White Sox’ first playoff game in 12 years was still uncertain because of a sprained right foot.

Jimenez took batting practice, did some running and played catch, and while he and manager Rick Renteria said the foot is improving — with Jimenez expressing confidence he would play Tuesday — he appears to be a 50-50 proposition to play.

“But I’m going to be available,” said Jimenez, who missed the weekend series against the Cubs after getting hurt running the bases Thursday in Cleveland. “I’m going to go out to try to do my best, and if I don’t play, I’m going to be in the dugout, cheering for my boys. But in my mind, I’m going to play [Tuesday].”

With the Sox’ lineup having cooled off during its recent run of nine losses in 12 games, Jimenez’s bat would be sorely missed. He batted .296/.332/.559 with 14 homers and 41 RBI in his second regular season. Hope that he might play is more than he had after first sustaining the injury.

“A couple of days ago, I didn’t think I could play because I couldn’t even walk,” he said.

Adam Engel started in left field during the Cubs series.

Jimenez might appear as designated hitter, Renteria said, but if James McCann catches Game 1 starter Lucas Giolito, Yasmani Grandal could be the DH with Edwin Encarnacion benched.

“I think I’m going to be DH for the first game, but I don’t know,” Jimenez said.

‘Adjustment’ at DH?

Encarnacion, 37, who signed a $12 million deal in the offseason, might be benched anyway after Renteria gave him every opportunity to produce in the regular season. He’s .157/.250/.377.

“I would not be precluded from making some adjustments in that slot,” Renteria said. “Obviously we have a gentleman who is extremely experienced, has had an illustrious career as a designated hitter, and I think all of us want to put our best foot forward. He’s been a tremendous addition to us in the clubhouse; obviously he’s impacted us on the field as well. There are a couple options available to . . . put us in the best position possible.”

Using McCann at DH when Grandal catches would be one such option.

Early start times irk A’s Melvin

Games 1 and 2 begin at noon Oakland time, which Athletics manager Bob Melvin is not pleased about.

“I mean, we have 12 o’clock games, which means we’re testing [for coronavirus] at 6:30 in the morning and taking batting practice at 9 o’clock. You don’t even do that in spring training. So there continue to be hurdles.”

It’s been that kind of year, for everyone.

“Our guys are good about understanding that, and never expecting anything to come easy,” Melvin said. “You talk about home-field advantage. Now we’re hitting at 9 in the morning, and they hit later than we do.”

This and that

The 28-man playoff roster will be announced Tuesday morning. Outfielder/infielder Leury Garcia, who hasn’t played since having thumb surgery in early August, might be on it. Garcia was being evaluated in a simulated game Monday.

• Game 1 starter Lucas Giolito, on the diamond rings that chairman Jerry Reinsdorf gave to him and McCann commemorating Giolito’s no-hitter: “Definitely something to be cherished, I’m going to pass it down to my kids. Just a testament to Jerry’s character. He takes care of us — he cares about us — so it was a little nice honor, for sure.”