White Sox manager Pedro Grifol hoping Eloy Jimenez returns in ‘3 or 4 days’

Jimenez was not in the Sox’ lineup Friday after exiting the second game of the doubleheader Thursday in New York with a lower left leg injury.

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Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees - Game Two

Eloy Jimenez injured his left leg in the second game of the doubleheader Thursday against the Yankees.

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Eloy Jimenez was not in the White Sox’ lineup Friday after exiting the second game of the doubleheader Thursday in New York with a lower left leg injury.

Upon further evaluation, the injury rose above the level of a day-to-day designation, Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. But the team is hoping to have Jimenez back in the next several days and avoid a third injured-list stint.

“He’s doing pretty good,’’ Grifol said before the Sox’ 2-1 victory against the Marlins. ‘‘I wouldn’t say he’s day-to-day, but I think it’ll probably be three or four days for him to get back in there.

‘‘You still have to see how he progresses. But overall it was a pretty good exam.’’

It’s no secret that injuries have plagued Jimenez throughout his young career. After strong seasons in 2019 and 2020, he appeared in only 139 of a possible 324 games the next two seasons with a variety of ailments, from a torn pectoral muscle to multiple hamstring strains.

This latest hiccup came about in familiar fashion, to boot. In the ninth inning of the 3-0 loss to the Yankees, Jimenez came up lame after running out a grounder to short. Attempting to turn a double play, Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres sailed a throw into the dugout, allowing a hobbling Jimenez to take second. But Andrew Vaughn immediately pinch-ran in his place.

Grifol said the injured area is just below Jimenez’s left calf. Jimenez told Grifol he first felt it “a little bit” in the first game of the doubleheader before tweaking it in the second.

In the day game, Jimenez belted a go-ahead home run off Yankees reliever Michael King for what would prove to be the decisive blast in a 6-5 victory. Since returning May 28 from an IL stint after an appendectomy, Jimenez had a slash line of .256/.302/.462 with two homers and nine RBI in 10 games.

“He had it in his mind that he was gonna come back from that sooner than later, and he did a really good job on the mental side of it,” Grifol said. “He made it back, and he picked up right where he left off. Big home run yesterday, he’s done a good job.”

The Sox hope he returns sooner rather than later this time around, as well. But in the meantime, Grifol said, Jake Burger and Gavin Sheets will be the primary names called upon to step into the DH spot in Jimenez’s place.

Leading the team in OPS by a wide margin, Burger has been one of the stories of the Sox’ season but an off-and-on presence in the lineup. Sheets, though searching for consistency, provides pop from the left side. Burger was the DH and batted sixth Friday; Sheets manned right field and hit eighth.

“When you have the depth that we have, the key is to keep guys in rhythm, and sometimes it’s hard,” Grifol said. “But when you do have an injury, it allows for others to go ahead and take the bulk of those ABs. So just grateful that we have some depth to be able to do that.

“Now, we certainly miss Eloy’s bat. But when you replace Eloy with a Sheets or a Burger, that’s pretty good. I would prefer having them all. But for the next four or five days, we won’t.”

Based on that timeline, stay tuned for further updates on the front end of the Sox’ upcoming West Coast trip, which stops first in Los Angeles for the Dodgers, then in Seattle.

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