ELOY: I’LL BE ALL RIGHT IN LEFT

Jimenez puts mis­take against Brew­ers be­hind him; Sox blank In­di­ans to open se­ries

Chicago Sun-Times - - SOX BEAT - BY BRIAN SANDALOW | @bri­ansan­dalow

The White Sox still ex­pect Eloy Jimenez to be­come a re­li­able left fielder. But if he doesn’t, the Sox will have to fig­ure some­thing out.

“I’m ex­pect­ing that over time Eloy will fall into a good cat­e­gory on the de­fen­sive side, and if he doesn’t, we’ll find ways to con­tinue to aug­ment his play­ing time out there,” man­ager Rick Ren­te­ria said be­fore the Sox’ 2-0 vic­tory Fri­day against the In­di­ans. “We’re go­ing to con­tinue to work. Un­for­tu­nately, it’s a re­ally short win­dow of time we have this year. But we’re go­ing to con­tinue to do what we can and try to help him be­come the best out­fielder he pos­si­bly can be.”

Beyond Jimenez han­dling his three chances, this vic­tory was a mixed bag for the Sox.

Dy­lan Cease (2-1) threw five score­less in­nings de­spite walk­ing five, in­clud­ing four to start in­nings. Adam En­gel home­red in the eighth, and the win snapped a two-game skid.

“I can’t ex­pect those kind of re­sults if I’m go­ing to have that many baserun­ners all the time,” Cease said. “For­tu­nately, we were able to get out of here with a [win], but it’s not some­thing that’s go­ing to be sus­tain­able, so I have to do a bet­ter job of get­ting ahead.”

The bad news came when Aaron Bum­mer left in the sev­enth with a sore left bi­ceps. He will be re-eval­u­ated Satur­day.

“Hope­fully there’s no ex­tended pe­riod of time,” said Ren­te­ria, who re­vealed that Matt Fos­ter would start Satur­day. “But we’re go­ing to be care­ful with him.”

Mean­while, one un­event­ful night won’t stop the ques­tions about Jimenez’s abil­ity in left field, which grew louder af­ter Thurs­day’s loss to Mil­wau­kee when he mis­played a fly ball hit by Chris­tian Yelich into an in­side-the-park homer, fall­ing into the net­ting in the process.

Is­sues with walls have been a theme of Jimenez’s time in the big leagues. It al­ready has cost him time out of the lineup, and ob­vi­ously it’s a con­cern.

Jimenez said he’s “not re­ally” wor­ried about get­ting hurt in the out­field.

“I’m just try­ing to go play hard,” Jimenez said. “If you see when I got hurt in the out­field, it was be­cause I tried to do my best and was just play­ing hard. So I don’t care if I get hurt in the out­field.”

His em­ploy­ers might care a lit­tle bit, though Ren­te­ria said he wasn’t con­cerned about Jimenez hurt­ing him­self. For now, Ren­te­ria is hop­ing that Jimenez’s work will pay off, al­low­ing him to re­main in left.

Jimenez said he has made a lot of progress since com­ing up to the big leagues to be­gin last sea­son. He’s try­ing to be one of the best out­field­ers in base­ball, not just one of the best hit­ters, and craves be­ing a com­plete player.

“It mo­ti­vated me a lot be­cause peo­ple don’t think I can play de­fense,” Jimenez said. “For me, it’s a chal­lenge, and I know I can play. So it is some­thing that I want to do for my­self first and the peo­ple talk­ing. And just go out and put some work [in] and play hard.”

Un­for­tu­nately for Jimenez, the mis­cue Thurs­day won’t help that per­cep­tion. Ren­te­ria be­moaned the fact that more isn’t said about the nice plays he makes, and he said he no­tices the routes Jimenez takes to the ball.

“He al­ways walks by, and I al­ways tell him nine in­nings be­cause he doesn’t like com­ing out,” Ren­te­ria said. “He wants to prove to ev­ery­body that he can play that out­field po­si­tion very, very well. He’s a driven kid. Time will tell us, and hope­fully we make the right de­ci­sion with him.” ✶

CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/AP

Eloy Jimenez, who has had some is­sues in left field, went 0-for-3 on Fri­day night against the Cleve­land In­di­ans at Guar­an­teed Rate Field.

CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/AP

Sox starter Dy­lan Cease threw five score­less in­nings but walked five In­di­ans.

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