Eloy feeling good, ready to 'put up numbers'

White Sox slugger looks to put injury history in past; Martin, Clevinger get work

March 23rd, 2023

GLENDALE, Ariz. --  took a few seconds to find the right words, the right sentiment, when describing right calf cramps taking him out of Monday’s game against the D-backs.

“Better safe than sorry,” the White Sox designated hitter said during his team’s 4-3 loss to the Royals on Wednesday afternoon at Camelback Ranch. “That’s all that happened.”

Jiménez, who played for the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic, didn’t even feel the pain until he was sitting in the dugout after running out a slow roller fielded in front of the plate. Manager Pedro Grifol told reporters on Tuesday morning the issue was nothing to worry about, and Jiménez already had done his running on a scheduled off-day following the Classic.

In two at-bats comprising Wednesday’s return, Jiménez struck out and grounded out to third. He’s feeling good and ready to see what his numbers will look like by staying healthy enough to play an abundance of games across the 162-game season.

“I don’t know. We are going to find out this year,” Jiménez said. “I feel really good. I think I can put up numbers because everybody knows what happened in the past and I still am what I am supposed to be. I think it’s going to be good.”

Jiménez’s career highs for home runs (31) and RBIs (79) both came in his rookie season of 2019, when he played 122 games. His ‘20 season produced a Silver Slugger Award, although it was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. He hasn’t played over 84 games in each of the past two seasons.

So, it was understandable why Jiménez erred on the side of caution when feeling something unusual on Monday.

“I have too many things in the past, so I was just like, ‘I don’t want to get sore later,’” Jiménez said. “I feel with all that happened to me in the past, yes, I know my body. 

“That was something that wasn’t bad. It was just better to be safe than sorry. I don’t feel any problems right now. I don’t feel anything. I was just worried a little bit, but now I’m really good.”

Martin ready for what’s next

Davis Martin got five ups during his start against the Royals, allowing four runs on five hits and one walk over 4 1/3 innings to go with four strikeouts. The right-hander is effectively the sixth starter, so he is prepared to break camp with the team or begin the season with Triple-A Charlotte, and quite possibly help the White Sox as the campaign progresses.

“Last year obviously helps a ton, kind of knowing you never really know what’s going to happen in a season,” Martin said. “Just try to be where my feet are, try to enjoy the day to day and enjoy being a professional baseball player, and everything that comes with it, and really diving into that five-day routine.

“Whether that’s going to be in Chicago or Charlotte or Columbus or Detroit, it doesn’t matter. Just diving into that and being prepared, and being ready, if they call for me. If I start up there, great, just continue to do what I do.”

Martin hit three Royals, but he simply was trying to work inside.

“As a slider guy, I have to protect my slider, I have to protect it,” Martin said. “So I have to move the fastball around and protect it. I think one kind of got away from me on a hit-by-pitch on the hand.” 

Clevinger gets his work

A sinus infection didn’t stop Mike Clevinger from getting five ups and allowing one run on three hits and one walk over five innings during a 2-0 loss to the Rangers in split-squad action on Wednesday. 

Clevinger, who should start the series finale in Houston to open the regular season, struck out three and allowed three hits.

“It was just get out there, sweat the demons out and try to get the pitch count in. It worked well with sequencing. Just got to be more efficient,” Clevinger told reporters in Surprise, Ariz. “I just think I didn't have an extra gear. I was an energy vampire today. I was just dead from a sinus infection.”