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Renteria on Jimenez: 'He's getting closer'

@scottmerkin
May 9, 2019

CLEVELAND -- The Minor League injury rehab assignment for outfielder Eloy Jimenez will not begin this weekend, as White Sox manager Rick Renteria said before Thursday's game that Jimenez will travel with the team to Toronto. “He is getting closer,” said Renteria of Jimenez. “I think we’ll make a decision

CLEVELAND -- The Minor League injury rehab assignment for outfielder Eloy Jimenez will not begin this weekend, as White Sox manager Rick Renteria said before Thursday's game that Jimenez will travel with the team to Toronto.

“He is getting closer,” said Renteria of Jimenez. “I think we’ll make a decision after this road trip.”

Jimenez suffered a high right ankle sprain on April 26 upon colliding with the Guaranteed Rate Field wall while chasing a Grayson Greiner home run, and he was placed on the injured list on April 28.

A rehab assignment would appear to be a necessity for the 22-year-old, who is the No. 3 prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline. But Jimenez continues to look good in his daily work with the White Sox, although he is yet to run the bases. Jimenez is using the negative of the injury and turning it into a positive by making some adjustments during the down time.

“You certainly have an opportunity to go ahead and back track and cover some things,” Renteria said. “You continue to instruct obviously, and it allows them to focus a little bit more.”

“He’s a hitter by nature, so see ball, hit ball kind of thing,” said White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson of Jimenez. “Just making sure that he’s in his positions and doing everything. It’s actually not a bad time to make sure you start cleaning up some things that might have been going on early in the year.”

Jimenez has a .241 average, a .674 OPS, three home runs and eight RBIs through 85 plate appearances, with 25 strikeouts and five walks. Steverson characterizes Jimenez as a good hitter who is finding his way as most rookies do.

“We’ve had some good talks,” Steverson said. “Eloy swings at good pitches, Eloy could do some damage. It’s a matter of learning the league and figuring out what they are trying to do to you.

“At one point he was seeing some of the most breaking balls in baseball. That’s neither here nor there. Throw as many as you want, but if you hang it, I should be able to handle it. I don’t need to chase the ones bouncing into the dirt. That’s really the other side of that.”

Bummer refining focus

The noticeable improvement for left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer has come from a change in focus, according to the hurler.

“Lately, I’ve been pretty locked in,” Bummer said. “I’ve kind of gone with the saying of 'aim small, miss small.' Me putting myself into fine focus of trying to hit the glove and make the ball go where it’s supposed to go and challenging myself, it’s putting me in a lot better position to make better pitches.

“A simple thing of my focus is a lot stronger and I just kind of created mental cues like the simple thing of focusing on the glove instead of the strike zone. That’s allowing me to get the ball to where I want it to be.”

Bummer entered Thursday with nine strikeouts over seven scoreless innings since joining the White Sox. Opponents are 2-for-23 (.087) against him, with left-handers going 2-for-13 and righties 0-for-10.

“I’m really happy with where I’m at now and just trying to build off that,” Bummer said. “Anybody can do it for five outings in a row. Anybody can do it for a month. It’s a matter of whether or not you can sustain it for six months and the entire season.”

By the numbers

The White Sox 16-19 record through 35 games is a seven-game improvement from last season (9-26). They have been outscored by 28 runs through 35, compared to a -65 run differential in 2018. The White Sox didn’t record their 20th win last season until June 6.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.