Eloy exits game with cramping in calf
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Outfielder Eloy Jimenez left the White Sox’ Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks on Monday with cramping in his right calf, the latest in a series of physical setbacks affecting the starting lineup as spring training reaches its final full week. Jimenez is day-to-day.
On Sunday, the Sox revealed that first baseman Andrew Vaughn had a sore lower back. That night, third baseman Yoan Moncada crashed into left fielder Roel Santos while tracking a short pop fly and exited Team Cuba’s loss to Team USA in the World Baseball Classic semifinals with bruised ribs.
Moncada was down for a while, left the game and was checked for a concussion but wasn’t seriously hurt.
The Sox also said Monday that righthanded reliever Matt Foster has a forearm strain, although he was not expected to make the Opening Day roster.
Jimenez, Vaughn and Moncada, however, are key pieces in the every-day lineup. Jimenez, who hit a nubber in front of the plate and was thrown out by D-backs catcher Carson Kelly in his only at-bat, was checked out by trainer James Kruk after the second inning and replaced by Adam Haseley in right field.
The Sox had a relatively clean spring training injury-wise before Vaughn was sidelined last week. Moncada strained an oblique muscle on the last day of camp a year ago, kicking off an injury-plagued season for the entire team. Among the casualties was Jimenez, who suffered a torn hamstring tendon in his right leg running out a grounder in Minnesota on April 3.
Jimenez is expected to be the primary designated hitter but is getting playing time in right field, a spot expected to be occupied by prospect Oscar Colas .He came to camp 25 pounds lighter, determined to stay healthy and show he can play right field.
Manager Pedro Grifol expects Vaughn and Moncada to be ready on Opening Day in Houston in 10 days.
“He’s good,” Grifol said of Moncada. “If he were here and it meant something, he would play today.”
Cuban teammates Luis Robert and Moncada are flying in from Miami on Tuesday and will rejoin the team Wednesday, Grifol said. Moncada batted .435 with a home run and four doubles in six WBC games.
Vaughn ‘getting better’
Vaughn, meanwhile, took grounders Monday.
“He feels good,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘Every day he’s getting better. We did the right thing by just giving him a rest.”
Vaughn has had 31 Cactus League at-bats.
“We’ll get some more before we break, and he’ll end up with 40, 40-something, and that’s plenty,” Grifol said.
“We play five days in a row when we start the season. He’ll get enough there, too.”
Ruiz shines at WBC
Right-hander Jose Ruiz returned to camp after pitching 4„ innings of scoreless relief for Venezuela, a body of work that included strikeouts of Tim Anderson and Mike Trout in high-leverage moments.
Ruiz’s stuff has never been an issue, but his 12.5% walk rate was a problem last season when he had a 4.60 ERA.
“The WBC brought out the best in me,” he said. “The experience was out of this world.”