A key member of the White Sox offense is one step closer to returning.
Thursday saw the White Sox announce that Eloy Jimenez is slated to start a rehab assignment with Class A Winston-Salem on Friday, and in comments to White Sox media, Jimenez hopes to be back with the big league club by the end of the month.
It’s a rare bit of good injury news for a club that has expanded its division lead to 8 games despite being decimated by injuries to several areas of the roster. Yasmani Grandal just had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his knee, but he’s expected back later this season, and Nick Madrigal was lost for the season to a torn hamstring that required surgery to repair.
How the Sox have maintained and expanded the lead in the AL Central is a testament to their starting pitching rotation, which has largely been spared the injury headaches that have plagued the outfield mostly, and to a lesser extent, the infield too. They’ve shouldered the majority of the load with so many injuries to key bats holding the offense below what was projected before the season.
It’s prompted speculation that GM Rick Hahn would make a big splash trade to plug some of those holes in the offense, but the return of Jimenez, in addition to Luis Robert not far behind him, would be better additions to the lineup than any outside source via trade.
While this good news helps the outfield, speculation continues on with regard to second base, as Madrigal won’t be back until next season. Adam Frazier of the Pirates has drawn the Sox interest, as has Eduardo Escobar of the Diamondbacks. Sources indicated that the Sox were close to landing Escobar a couple times, but other teams interest kept the deal from being finalized.
The return of Jimenez could be just the boost the Sox offense needs heading into a very tough August slate of games, which will see the Sox square off with the Yankees, Tampa Bay, Houston, Oakland and Toronto in addition to two highly charged series with the Cubs. The Sox offense was held down by Houston pitching earlier this month, so another impact bat in the middle of the order will help immensely for a team that has designs on winning it all in 2021.