Jimenez's 3-run homer powers White Sox past Royals
Eloy Jimenez's mere presence in the lineup and clubhouse was good enough for the White Sox on Monday.
But after going 0-for-4 in his first game of the season, it wasn't good enough for Jimenez.
"I was a little excited but I feel like those moments are going to keep coming," said Jimenez, who missed four months after rupturing his left pectoral tendon late in spring training. "I'm going to be ready for those."
The Sox's 24-year-old slugger didn't have to wait long for the next opportunity.
With the White Sox trailing the Royals 3-2 in the eighth inning Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium and Adam Engel on third base with two outs, reliever Kyle Zimmer intentionally walked No. 3 hitter Jose Abreu to get to Jimenez.
On an 0-1 pitch, Zimmer hung an off-speed pitch and Jimenez hit a towering 459-foot home run to spark the Sox to a 5-3 win.
"I think we tried not to think about it too much when he was gone," said starting pitcher Dylan Cease, who allowed 2 runs over 6 innings. "But that right there is why you miss that guy. He's a home-run threat at any point. He can put 3 runs, 4 runs on the board at any point.
"The personality's great, but I'll take 3-run home runs over personality, to be honest. But I love his personality, too. It's nice to have him back."
Jimenez is thrilled to be back and doing damage again.
"I was ready for that moment," he said. "I had it in my mind. It was like, 'They're going to walk Jose, he's an RBI machine so they don't want to pitch to him because they think I was off time.' But I was ready for that."
Getting Jimenez's big bat back in the lineup is a significant addition for the White Sox. But he also wants to prove he's not a defensive liability.
Jimenez made his first start in left field and made two nice catches while throwing a runner out at the plate.
"Eloy was the defensive star of the game," manager Tony La Russa said. "He played Gold Gove stuff out there with a Gold Glove throw. I haven't seen him a lot except here and there but the breaks he got on balls, the strong, accurate throw, we had our talk yesterday about DHing and playing outfield.
"My concern right away, not only was he moving around out there but he really ran hard to first a couple times today so I'd be concerned, so tomorrow he's DHing definitely. I'll make sure his legs aren't tight before he gets in there. We just have to, not going to say ease his way back, but carefully play him."