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White Sox slugger Eloy Jimenez out 5-6 months

White Sox, Eloy Jimenez

The Chicago White Sox’s lineup took a massive hit on Thursday.

Outfielder Eloy Jimenez suffered a torn pectoral after trying to rob a home run during Wednesday’s spring training game against the Oakland Athletics. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn broke the news to reporters, acknowledging recovery could be 5-to-6 months.

Jimenez immediately motioned to his shoulder area after attempting to scale the wall to rob a home run. He was promptly removed from the game and diagnosed with left shoulder discomfort.

Obviously, the severity of the injury turned out to be far worse than simply shoulder discomfort.

This is a big hit to what looked like one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball. Jimenez hit .296 with 14 homers and a 138 OPS+ in 2020, one year after clubbing 31 homers in his rookie season with the White Sox.

Jimenez was a popular pick to elevate yet again in 2021. He ranked in the 91st percentile or higher in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate and barrel percentage last summer, consistently making hard contact and driving the ball to all fields.

The injury will also prompt questions about Jimenez’s positional future. He was already a poor defensive outfielder and projects more as a designated hitter down the road.

But the White Sox have been enamored with 2019 first-round pick Andrew Vaughn, who was looking like a string pick to break camp and be the team’s DH on Opening Day. That infatuation was the reason Jimenez was still seen as the starting left fielder.

In any case, the loss of Jimenez is a big blow to a team many have pegged as one of the top contenders in the American League.