Left fielder Eloy Jimenez has been medically cleared to resume baseball activities, the White Sox said Monday, an encouraging development for their Silver Slugger Award winner who suffered a torn pectoral muscle in spring training.
The phase of the rehabilitation process at the Sox’ complex at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, is estimated to take a minimum of four weeks, after which Jimenez could be cleared for a rehab assignment with a minor-league affiliate, the team said.
The timetable for Jimenez’s return to the Sox has not been set.
“Great news,” manager Tony La Russa said. “I had a message from him today, so I called him back. He was letting us know he’s excited about getting back to baseball activities and [saying], ‘See you soon.’ ’’
La Russa said he cautioned Jimenez about trying to rush back too soon, though.
“I said, ‘Whoops, soon? No, no. Patience, patience, patience,’ ” La Russa said. “We have a lot of season left. But it’s great news.”
Depending on his progress in the rehabilitation phase and how many weeks he’ll need playing at an affiliate after that, an August return seems possible. Under no pressure to rush him back, later in the month would seem more likely than sooner.
Jimenez was injured when his left arm hung over the left-field wall during a Cactus League game when he jumped for a homer that sailed well over his head. He had surgery on the ruptured tendon before Opening Day, and while the Sox said he was expected to be out five to six months, they left the door open for an earlier return.
First baseman Andrew Vaughn was converted to left field and has played 46 games there. Jake Lamb (11 games), Leury Garcia (five), Nick Williams (three), Billy Hamilton (two), Adam Eaton (one) and Brian Goodwin (one) all have been used in left field.
Third baseman Yoan Moncada was fighting a cold and congestion, La Russa said, and did not start Monday
“He’s got a lot of discomfort,” La Russa said. “Hopefully, he’s got the thing that’s bugged a lot of guys, and if it comes quickly, it goes quickly.”
Garcia played third base for a second consecutive day — Moncada was rested Sunday — and Yermin Mercedes batted third in Moncada’s customary spot.
Keuchel: Sox have something for everyone
Dallas Keuchel, who starts Tuesday, said the Sox’ pitching staff is the best he has been on and the position players offer a little bit of anything for the fans.
“You can kind of pick and choose your player on this team,” Keuchel said. “It’s like you can pick an a la carte or you can do tapas style. You got [Tim Anderson], always consistent hitting .300. He’s on base all the time. [Jose Abreu] is doing his thing again. Moncada is back to his MVP form. It’s fun, it really is.’’
In the second year of a three-year deal, Keuchel said the atmosphere at Guaranteed Rate Field is better than he experienced when he came there with the Astros.
“It was nothing like it is now,” Keuchel said. “The pandemic helped people come back out trying to be more adamant about the game. Drinking beer in left field, making snakes out of the beer cups. That’s kind of fun. We got girl fights. We got dude fights.”