After disappointing season, Jimenez looking to regain old form with White Sox

  • The White Sox's Eloy Jimenez -- here hitting a three-run homer against the Cubs in August -- says he's working hard "to get back to where I used to be."

    The White Sox's Eloy Jimenez -- here hitting a three-run homer against the Cubs in August -- says he's working hard "to get back to where I used to be." Associated Press

 
 
Updated 12/4/2021 10:58 AM

Eloy Jimenez knows all about work stoppages.

Last season, the White Sox's left fielder was shut down from late March until late July with a ruptured left pectoral tendon.

 

He played in 55 games after rejoining the Sox but never came close to meeting expectations -- including his own.

"I'm not going to say it was bad," Jimenez said. "It wasn't my best, but it wasn't that bad because I was coming back from injury in the time that nobody expected me to get there. For me, that was good.

"But at the end of the season, I felt like it was OK. It could be better."

Jimenez expects to be much better in 2022 and after missing so much time last season, and he's hoping the current work stoppage doesn't shorten the 162-game season.

"Go back to being Eloy," Jimenez said. "Last year, I didn't know who I was. For next season, I'm working hard, really hard right now to get back to where I used to be."

When the White Sox reported to spring training last year, Jimenez was locked in and ready to make a run at a 30 home run/100 RBI season.

During a March 24 Cactus League game against the Athletics, he reached over the fence trying to catch Sean Murphy's home run and sustained a serious injury.

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Jimenez never was able to get fully up to speed after returning. He wound up hitting .249/.303/.437 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI and was 5-for-17 with 3 RBI in the playoffs.

Missing the first four months obviously took a toll, not that Jimenez is willing to admit it.

"For me, that is not an excuse," the 25-year-old outfielder said. "I need to do better. That was my mentality the whole time. I know there's going to be ups and downs at times, but this time I don't know what happened. I just have to figure it out right now and keep working hard and let's see next season."

Whether next season starts on time or not, Jimenez said he'll be ready to go.

"At the beginning, I didn't even know what I was doing because everything was good," he said. "But then I lost it a little bit and I didn't really know what I was doing. Right now, in the offseason, I'm studying myself and seeing what happened, what was the issue? I need to work on every single part of my body. Not just core, my legs, my arms. I think that is part of my job, getting ready for that and come better for next season."

In addition to missing four months with the injury, Jimenez had to deal with the Sox's second straight early exit in the postseason.

"We thought we had a better team and got eliminated in the first round again," he said. "It was a little bit disappointing but every time you lose, you learn something. I think next year we're going to get better because that's pretty much what every championship team does. Let's see.

"Everybody can say whatever, we just need to play hard and let's see."

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