CLEVELAND — Eloy Jimenez left the White Sox’ game against the Guardians with tightness in his right leg after making a running catch in the sixth inning Wednesday at Progressive Field.
Jimenez, who returned to the team July 6 after tearing a hamstring tendon that required surgery April 26, ran hard to glove Jose Ramirez’s liner to left-center field to end the sixth inning, stranding Myles Straw at third base and preserving a 2-0 lead.
Jimenez walked off the field alongside center fielder Luis Robert. After sitting down in the dugout, he went to the clubhouse with training staff. He was playing in his eighth game since coming back from the injury, his fifth in left field.
“Right now, knock on wood, we don’t think he reinjured it,” manager Tony La Russa said. “We’ll give him a couple days off.”
Jimenez, who earlier in the game slipped, tumbled backward and managed to catch a base hit on the hop while on his back, has been hurt playing left field numerous times. He tore his pectoral muscle attempting to make a leaping catch on a ball well over his head in spring training last year. In July of 2019 he collided with center fielder Charlie Tilson and went on the IL with an elbow injury. In April, 2019 he suffered a high ankle sprain colliding with the outfield wall in Detroit.
Jimenez sprained his foot running the bases in a game against the Cubs late in 2020 and was limited during the 2020 Wild Card as a result. The surgery on his hamstring resulted from an injury which occurred while running out a ground ball at Minnesota in April.
Jimenez also hurt his ankle in the on-field celebration after Lucas Giolito no-hit the Indians in 2020 but avoided the IL.
Katz feels bad for Cease
The sting of not being selected for the All-Star Game was still felt by Dylan Cease on Tuesday when he pumped nine more strikeouts and 5⅔ more scoreless innings against the Guardians into his first-half résumé.
While it’s possible he becomes a late addition, the Sox right-hander will have one more start Sunday against the Twins before the game to show how big the oversight was.
“I feel really bad for him,” pitching coach Ethan Katz said.
“It’s something I know he really wanted. If something does open up, I hope he’s considered. His numbers speak for themselves and everything he’s done this year. He’s one of the most exciting pitchers in baseball and deserves an opportunity to show what he can do at center stage. It’s a tough one to swallow.”
Through Tuesday, Cease ranked first in the majors in strikeouts (142) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.09) and was third in the American League in ERA (2.30). He’s on pace to break his own club single-season record of 12.28 strikeouts per nine innings, set last season. He owns an 8-4 record in 18 starts.
Cease’s nine consecutive starts allowing one or fewer earned runs broke franchise marks held by Tommy John in 1968 and Jim Kaat in 1974-75. His 0.53 ERA since May 29 leads the majors.
Cease’s slider, “one of the best pitches in baseball,” Katz said, is so good that Cease wrote a poem about it.
“He read it to me,” Katz said. “And it’s great. It’s clever. He has a personality people don’t maybe realize but maybe start to realize a little more. He’s quite a character. He’s fun to be around.”
Colas ‘shocked’ by honor
Center fielder Oscar Colas has enjoyed an excellent first season of professional baseball in the U.S., complete with a recent promotion to Double-A Birmingham, but he didn’t see being chosen as the White Sox’ lone representative to play in the Futures Game on Saturday in his near future.
“I was in shock,” Colas said on a video call. “I was like, what? I honestly couldn’t believe it.”
Signed out of Cuba in January, Colas, 23, earned it by hitting .309/.366/.470 with seven homers in 60 games. Getting rid of his leg kick during spring training helped him to see the ball better, cut down on strikeouts, make more contact and better handle pitches on the inner half of the plate, he said.
While growing up in Cuba, Colas said he didn’t know much about the All-Star and Futures games. “It’s something that, wow, I want to share with my family,” he said.
Double-A Birmingham broadcaster Curt Bloom will make his Sox radio debut July 24 on ESPN 1000 alongside Len Kasper (Darrin Jackson is off). Also that day, Connor McKnight, subbing for Jason Benetti, will call his first game for NBC Sports Chicago with Steve Stone.