The White Sox have officially activated outfielder Eloy Jimenez from the 60-day injured list, according to a team announcement. Infielder Jake Burger was optioned to Triple-A to open up room on the roster.
Jimenez required surgery after suffering a ruptured left pectoral tendon near the end of Spring Training, and he will now return at the shorter end of his initial four-to-five month recovery timetable. He began a minor league rehab assignment earlier this month and has already banked 12 games in the minors to make up for all the lost time. Luis Robert also began a rehab assignment this week, after Robert went on the injured list in May with a hip flexor strain.
Chicago has built a commanding lead in the AL Central even without Jimenez and mostly without Robert, as the White Sox have thrived due to excellent starting pitching and a lineup that is still one of the best in baseball. A mix of somewhat unheralded veterans and youngsters have filled in admirably for Jimenez, Robert, and other injured White Sox like Nick Madrigal and (more recently) Yasmani Grandal. Rookie Andrew Vaughn has become a fixture in left field, and La Russa said that Vaughn will remain in the lineup as either a left fielder or DH, possibly splitting time at the two positions with Jimenez.
Over his first two MLB seasons, the 24-year-old Jimenez did nothing but mash, hitting .276/.321/.527 with 45 home runs over 730 plate appearances. Jimenez finished fourth in AL Rookie Of The Year voting in 2019 and he won a Silver Slugger last year as he helped lead the White Sox into the postseason. With the AL Central title looking like a distinct possibility for 2021, Chicago’s chances of taking another step forward in the playoffs will look a lot better with Jimenez, Robert, and (eventually) Grandal all back in the mix, besides what other acquisitions might be in the works at the trade deadline.