White Sox will activate Eloy Jimenez in the coming days

The White Sox were without Eloy Jimenez for two and a half months when the hitting outfielder tore a tendon in his right hamstring on April 23. He will return to the lineup soon, however, as various reporters (including ESPN’s Jesse Rogers) noted he was reported to the major league team after completing a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte yesterday. Jiménez won’t be active for tonight’s game against the Twins, but manager Tony La Russa said he’ll be reinstated in the next few days — maybe as early as tomorrow (via Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times).

Jiménez’s impending return should be a boon to a line-up that has been underwhelmed this season. The defending champions AL Central started the year with one of the most impressive squads in the league but put in a 38-40 record on Tuesday night. Offensive fights were a primary reason, with Chicago hitters carrying a .254/.309/.377 line as a unit. They are 19th in MLB on base percentage and 23rd in slugging performance, while their 98 wRC+ indicates they were two percentage points worse than a league average offense. That puts them in 20th place in the league.

Left field was one of a few problem areas as the Sox received a meager .250/.292/.387 pointing from position. Jiménez contributed somewhat with just under 11 games to start the season, but the bigger factor has been a declining year since spring training took over AJ Pollock. The veteran outfielder had a decent June after a dismal first two months of his tenure with the White Sox, and Jiménez’s activation should give Chicago the freedom to regularly put Pollock in the right field as they intended to open the season.

Gavin Leaves has seen most of the game play on right field lately. The left-hander has achieved .227/.296/.372, a production superior to the Pollock but still below average. He’s also rated poorly in the eyes of public defensive metrics, which isn’t surprising given he’s spent most of his professional career playing at first base.

Jiménez has missed notable parts in each of the last two seasons. He was limited to 55 games last year after tearing his chest tendon during spring training. That delayed his debut until late July, and he’s had quite a disappointing 0.249/0.303/0.437 for the last few months of the year. However, the 25-year-old showed the potential to play midfield in his first two big league seasons, combining .276/.321/.527 with 45 homers in 175 games from 2019-20.

Activating Jiménez will require a 40-man platoon as Chicago’s roster is currently full. That’s mostly a formality, since infielders Danny Mendik may be transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list after suffering a season-ending cruciate ligament rupture last month.

Chicago also looks set to welcome another injured regular in the relatively near future. Yasmani Grandal told reporters (including Athletic’s James Fegan) that he is moving to Double-A Birmingham tomorrow to start a stint in rehab. Grandal has been out since June 12 with back spasms and will return as the designated batsman before getting behind the plate. The veteran backstop indicated he hopes to return shortly after the all-star break, where he’ll try to recover from a rough .185/.294/.237 that’s been showing in the first few months of the season.

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