MILWAUKEE — Slugging White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez is ready to return.
Jimenez has completed his injury rehab stint at Triple-A Charlotte and will be in the lineup when the Sox play the Royals on Monday at Kauffman Stadium.
‘‘I’ll write him in the lineup tomorrow,’’ manager Tony La Russa said Sunday. ‘‘As soon as he walks in the clubhouse, he’s going to light it up with his personality.’’
Jimenez also has the potential to light up a Sox lineup that had very little pop in a 3-1 victory Sunday against the Brewers. He won his first Silver Slugger Award after last season and seemed primed for even better things this season.
After scoring one, one and two runs in their previous three games, all losses, the Sox’ offense Sunday consisted of an RBI single by catcher Seby Zavala (.190 average) and a two-run single by pitcher Lance Lynn in a three-run second inning. Both hits came with two outs against Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff.
Lynn (10-3) lowered his major-league-best ERA to 1.91 by allowing one run and six hits, striking out six and walking none in six innings. Michael Kopech pitched a scoreless seventh but was lifted for closer Liam Hendriks (24th save) after allowing the leadoff man to reach in the eighth. Hendriks notched his second two-inning save this month as the Sox (59-40) salvaged the third game of a series between division leaders.
‘‘This was a big-time win for our club,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘Three minutes after walking in that clubhouse, Eloy’s name was mentioned. They made a commitment we would be in contention when he got back, and they honored it.’’
Getting Jimenez back is such a big deal that decorating the visitors’ clubhouse in Kansas City is being discussed, La Russa said. When Jimenez had surgery to repair his torn left pectoral muscle in March, he was expected to miss five to six months. Four months later, he’s ready to rock, be it in left field or at designated hitter.
‘‘[Triple-A manager] Wes Helms reports that Eloy is moving well in the outfield, so we have the freedom to see what’s best,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘He’ll play as the DH or left fielder, I’m not sure.’’
Jimenez has been injured playing left field multiple times, and he’s not as good defensively as rookie Andrew Vaughn, who has stepped in nicely. Vaughn, who batted fifth and doubled off the wall Sunday, is a natural first baseman.
‘‘I don’t think Eloy being here will take at-bats away from Andrew,’’ La Russa said.
The Sox have built a nine-game lead in the American League Central without Jimenez and with center fielder Luis Robert, second baseman Nick Madrigal and catcher Yasmani Grandal also missing chunks of the season. Getting Jimenez back near the trade deadline is a huge acquisition at no cost.
‘‘Everybody’s fired up,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘He’s playing the outfield with good movement, he’s throwing and he’s reaching balls defensively. At the plate, he’s swinging free and easy. It’s going to be more about timing. We’ll know more when we see him ourselves, but it’s full speed ahead.’’
Of the Sox’ performance this season, La Russa said: ‘‘In my career, it’s one of the best by a team that loses key guys, starting with [Jimenez]. He’s an RBI machine, and here we are where we are.’’
‘‘I’m excited,’’ Hendriks said. ‘‘I’ve never played with Eloy. It’s not a fun at-bat. It brings an extra power surge who can protect Jose Abreu, [Yoan] Moncada, TA [Tim Anderson] and guys like that. It extends our lineup.’’