White Sox’ Eloy Jimenez not in lineup a day after taking screamer off knee in dugout

Manager Tony La Russa — who termed the bruise “significant” — said he’d be “pleasantly surprised” to have the 24-year-old slugger in the lineup Thursday.

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Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics

Eloy Jimenez slides in safely at home in the fifth inning before being removed from Wednesday’s game.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

No runs, one hit, one short-lived terror.

“Jesus, it was crazy,” White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez said.

Fortunately for Jimenez, he’s day-to-day after taking a hard-hit ball off his right knee Tuesday while sitting in the visitors’ dugout during the second inning.

“I was paying attention to the game,” he said, “but I never expected a foul ball to come into my knee. … Everybody [got] out of the way and the ball just came.”

Teammate Andrew Vaughn’s line foul skipped once off the warning track in front of the dugout and drilled Jimenez, who appeared not to see it coming and writhed on the dugout floor in pain for most of a frightening minute before sitting up and being helped up and onto the bench. Jimenez was soon on his feet and at least attempting to laugh it off with teammates.

He stayed in the game and scored from second on a sliding play in the fifth before being removed.

“He got hit. He got smoked,” manager Tony La Russa said. “But [after X-rays] it was nothing except a bone bruise, which is just painful. You’ve got to get it to where the inflammation is down. 

“Fingers crossed for [Thursday].”

Jimenez was not in the lineup for the middle game of the three-game series Wednesday in Oakland, which the A’s won 5-1. The A’s chipped away against Sox starter Dallas Keuchel (8-9), who allowed five runs (all earned) and eight hits in 5⅔ innings. 

La Russa — who termed Jimenez’s bone bruise “significant” — said he’d be “pleasantly surprised” to have the 24-year-old slugger in the lineup Thursday, when the Sox face left-handed starter Sean Manaea. 

If that’s too soon, there’s always Friday against the Red Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field to shoot for.

“I hope so,” Jimenez said. “I want to play.”

Jimenez already missed 99 games this season while recovering from a torn pectoral tendon. He has hit .269 with eight home runs in 35 games since his return.

“It was scary,” he said. “But as soon as I found out it was just a bone bruise, it was OK. I know I’ve been through a lot this year, but this is not going to stop me.”

La Russa emphasized that Jimenez — along with shortstop Tim Anderson and pitchers Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodon — would be on the field if they could be and aren’t being handled with extra care in part because the Sox have a double-digit lead in the division.

“The biggest mistake somebody could make is to think that some of the care that we’re using now is because we’ve got a lead,” La Russa said. “Because we’re not comfortable with the lead.

“[Our] not pitching Gio and Lynn and being careful with Rodon has everything to do with them being sore and getting them well, and as soon as they’re well they’re going to pitch. … [And] Eloy is not playing because his knee is sore from the bruise. If it wasn’t, he’d be in there.”

NOTES: A strained hamstring has had Tim Anderson on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Aug. 29. “I don’t know what it is, to be honest; it’s really just soreness,” he said. “I know you’re tired of hearing that, but that’s just what it is. I feel like it’s going away. Hopefully I can get back in there pretty soon.” 

Lance Lynn (knee) might be closer. “Just make sure [a Friday bullpen session] goes well, and then we’re on our way to where we need to be,” he said. “That’s pretty much it. … We’re going to be ready to go whenever they slate me in.”

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