White Sox’ Tim Anderson, Andrew Benintendi still searching for first homers of 2023

Eloy Jimenez returned to the lineup, but manager Pedro Grifol wasn’t ruling out Yoan Moncada going on the injured list.

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White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson has not hit a home run this season.

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson has not hit a home run this season.

AP Photos

LOS ANGELES — It’s mid-June, and Tim Anderson and Andrew Benintendi are still looking for their first homers of the season.

Benintendi is playing through a sore right hand, but Anderson’s dry spell is more perplexing. He hit 17, 20, 18, 10 and 17 homers from 2017-21 and won a batting title with a .335 average in 2019, followed by a .322 mark in 2020. Anderson’s homer drought extends to last season, when he hit six in 79 games.

Anderson homered once in his last 44 games in 2022.

He tore the sagittal band on his left middle finger on Aug. 6, requiring surgery and effectively ending his season.

He went 0-for-5 Wednesday and is batting .253/.292/.298 with no homers, no triples, nine doubles and a .590 OPS in 48 games. He was out from April 11 to May 2 with a sprained right knee.

“His swing was in the zone better and he was using the whole field” when he was hitting with power in the past, first-year hitting coach Jose Castro said. “He has really good power to right-center.”

“Last year he was hurt, too, and that hindered his power. This year he was better physically, right? And then he got hurt in Minnesota.”

Anderson declines to talk about the knee. He was batting .293 with four doubles, two RBI, seven runs scored and a .339 on-base percentage over his last 14 games.

“I really couldn’t tell you if he’s 70%, or 100%,” Castro said. “It’s been quite a few ABs now but the approach, he’s really been going to right-center and we’re trying to get him back on track to be the Tim that we know.”

IL for Moncada?

Manager Pedro Grifol didn’t rule out third baseman Yoan Moncada going on the injured list again, but it appeared to be a strong possibility.

“I’m not real sure yet,” said Grifol, who started Jake Burger at third base against lefty Clayton Kershaw. “We’ll see. It’s going to be an ongoing thing.”

Moncada is playing through low back soreness and was 7-for-50 (.140) with one homer over his last 15 games.

He was out from April 10 to May 12 with what general manager Rick Hahn said was a protruding disc, an issue that surfaced during spring training.

“We’ll see how we move forward on that and take care of that,” Grifol said.

Burger hit two homers Wednesday, his 14th and 15th of the season.

Eloy returns

Eloy Jimenez started at designated hitter after missing four games with a sore left heel. He said he fouled a pitch off his left foot in Game 1 of a doubleheader at the Yankees on Thursday — before he hit a go-ahead home run — and was sore in the heel area through Game 2.

“It was something with my heel,” Jimenez said. “I don’t know how to describe it. It was just sharp pain. I feel good now.”

It was the latest of Jimenez’s injuries since his rookie season in 2019.

“It is a lot. But it is what it is,” he said. “It’s moving forward and just focus on what I can control and work hard.”

Jimenez singled, doubled, drove in a run and scored a run.

This and that

Right-hander Jimmy Lambert is being extended at Triple-A Charlotte for multi-innings bullpen use.

“We need him to be able to go plus-one, maybe even plus-two,” Grifol said.

- Since hitting a home run in three consecutive games, Romy Gonzalez was batting .115/.148/.154 with a 43% strikeout rate in his last nine.

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