MINNEAPOLIS — The rash of injuries seemingly has no end.
In a week from a very dark and cold place, the string of losses for the White Sox has none, either.
Left fielder Eloy Jimenez was the latest Sox player to go down, leaving the field Saturday after suffering a significant right hamstring injury running out a ground ball during the second inning of a 9-2 loss to the Twins, the Sox’ sixth defeat in a row.
Jimenez’s injury is not believed to be season-ending, manager Tony La Russa said, but it left him in tears and left his teammates stopping at his locker to give hugs and pats on the back.
“You walk in the training room and you see him, and he’s crying his eyes out,” La Russa said. “You walk in, and everybody cries. I feel for him. He loves what he does. I told him there will be a lot of season left when he gets back.”
More will be known officially on how long Jimenez will be out Sunday after more tests and an MRI exam. Running at full speed down the line, Jimenez’s left heel came down on the back of first base, and he appeared to pull the hamstring on his next step. He was facedown on the grass down the first-base line for several moments before getting up and onto the cart with the assistance of trainer James Kruk, the busiest man on the Sox’ payroll this season.
Sox teammates stood in stunned disbelief, watching one of their top sluggers go down. Twins players applauded in a show of support.
“It’s unfortunate for Eloy, and we have to keep him in our thoughts no matter what,” closer Liam Hendriks said. “It’s a tough break. But this is a team that battled back from injuries last year. I have no doubt the guys in this clubhouse can do it again.”
Hendriks pitched the eighth inning of a blowout game simply to get some work. That the closer hasn’t been needed in seven days underscores the Sox’ current state.
Starter Vince Velasquez allowed five runs and eight hits, including two homers to No. 8 hitter and catcher Ryan Jeffers.
“To be honest, I felt like [crap],” Velasquez said. “The fact you go 3„ [innings], and we’ve got to go to the bullpen is not ideal. With all the injuries and everything we encountered, it seems like everything is not the best energy in the clubhouse and on the field. Things just aren’t really turning around for us.”
Jimenez will join seven players on the injured list: right-handers Lance Lynn (right knee), Lucas Giolito (who’s returning from an abdominal strain Sunday), Joe Kelly (biceps nerve) and Jonathan Stiever (right lat surgery), left-hander Garrett Crochet (Tommy John surgery), third baseman Yoan Moncada (oblique) and outfielder Yermin Mercedes (broken hamate bone).
Luis Robert suffered a groin pull in Cleveland on Thursday that will keep him out of this series.
Jimenez’s injury was just the latest conk on a road trip fraught with bad weather, bad defense, poor hitting and a suspension handed to shortstop Tim Anderson. After sitting around for two days in Cleveland because of winterlike weather, the Sox were swept in a three-game series there, then lost two more to the Twins.
The Sox (6-8) have averaged two runs in their last nine games. Jose Abreu’s second homer and an RBI groundout accounted for their only runs Saturday.
Jimenez missed most of the first four months of last season after tearing a pectoral muscle on a leap at the wall during a game in spring training.
“I believe this will be shorter,” La Russa said.
Jimenez was playing in his third consecutive game and first in left field after missing Wednesday’s doubleheader with soreness in his left ankle.
“When you know a person like that who is a big asset in the lineup, to lose him, obviously it hurts you,” Velasquez said. “It affects all of us. We just have to bite the bullet and keep moving forward.”