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Jimenez isn't fazed by Spring Training stats

@scottmerkin
March 10, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The usual smile on Eloy Jimenez’s face on Sunday morning indicated he isn’t very worried about his 3-for-23 showing during Cactus League action. His ensuing comments reinforced that point. “Just keep playing. The more at-bats I take, the better I’m going to feel,” said Jimenez, ranked as

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The usual smile on Eloy Jimenez’s face on Sunday morning indicated he isn’t very worried about his 3-for-23 showing during Cactus League action.

His ensuing comments reinforced that point.

“Just keep playing. The more at-bats I take, the better I’m going to feel,” said Jimenez, ranked as baseball's No. 3 prospect overall by MLB Pipeline. “It’s still just the timing. It’s a little bit off. I know it’s just a little bit. It’s there.”

Jimenez has struck out eight times in 23 at-bats, which is the one thing not sitting well with a player who had 69 strikeouts all of last season. Otherwise, it’s all about the process in Arizona for the outfielder

“I’m just focused on getting quality at-bats. Take good swings,” Jimenez said. “Take good pitches for swings and do damage. I’ve been doing good with that.”

“I honestly don't worry about the numbers myself. I'm more worried about how he's going about it,” manager Rick Renteria said. “What we see him doing, how he's attacking pitches and how he's going through his work routine. He's a guy that we're very happy to have and I'm sure it'll start to fall into sync, everybody will see what he's capable of doing.”

Giolito happy with outing

Lucas Giolito walked three over 4 2/3 innings during Sunday’s 7-6 loss to the A’s at Camelback Ranch. The right-hander also allowed two mistake-pitch home runs off of a 2-0 fastball down the middle and a hanging changeup.

But those collective missteps didn’t bother Giolito as they seemed to throughout the 2018 campaign.

“I’m not stressing anymore with runners on base,” said Giolito after throwing 41 of his 68 pitches for strikes to go with three strikeouts. “If I walk a guy, it’s not eating at me like it would last year, where I’m now thinking about something that happened in the past vs. the next pitch. My focus is much more on to every single pitch one at a time vs., ‘Oh this inning is getting out of hand and things are different.’”

Giolito worked diligently in the offseason to make positive changes coming off of last year’s struggles. He feels a difference through three starts.

“My body just feels like it’s in a more consistent position,” Giolito said. “Out of the windup, it’s so much better than last year. I feel like I have an immediate rhythm out of the windup I can always go back to. I’m not searching for anything. I have much more trust in myself to execute the pitches I need to execute.

“Just from a feel, body perspective, the ball is coming out better, better spin, better velocity. Curveball today was the most consistent it has been in a couple of years. So, just all good things. The stat line didn’t really show how I felt about the game.”

Herrera getting in the groove

When Kelvin Herrera pitched in a game on March 3 against the Cubs, the right-handed reliever didn’t have a feel for his two-seamer. That lack of feel was understandable, considering it was the veteran’s first time in a game since Aug. 26, when he tore a ligament in his left foot pitching for the Nationals.

“I was expecting it to feel a little weird to be honest,” Herrera said. “But bouncing back and move forward for now.”

Herrera threw a scoreless inning in Saturday’s 12-2 victory over the Rangers. He hit 93 mph, although he’s not even looking at velocity at this point. He just felt better.

“Way better,” Herrera said. “I was able to execute my pitches, which is important for me. I was able to throw strikes, not only strikes, but quality strikes. I did a good job.”

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper and Herrera have a set amount of Spring Training outings he needs for proper preparation. With those outings, Herrera believes he will be ready for the start of the 2019 season, opening for the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Herrera helped the Royals reach back-to-back World Series in 2014 and ’15, winning a title in the latter appearance.

Third to first

Nicky Delmonico was in the clubhouse on Sunday, although not active after sustaining a minor concussion when he crashed into the left-field wall on Thursday.

“Still progressing,” Renteria said. “Definitely in a better place today.”

Ervin Santana got up and down four times during a simulated game on Sunday. He could be part of a B-game on Friday per Renteria.

Dylan Cease struck out two, walked two and yielded one run over 1 2/3 innings of relief on Sunday.

They said it

“Everything is always a work in progress until the day you retire.” -- Giolito

Up next

The White Sox play their third Cactus League game away from Camelback Ranch in four days when they visit the Brewers on Monday at 3:05 p.m. CT. Right-hander Ivan Nova will start, while Herrera, Dylan Covey and Caleb Frare also are scheduled to pitch for Chicago.

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