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White Sox option prospect Jimenez to Minors

Chicago sends down 5 others, reassigns Cease, Collins to Minor League camp
MLB.com @RichardJustice

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Eloy Jimenez's first Major League Spring Training ended Wednesday morning when he was among eight players the White Sox sent to Minor League camp.

First impressions? Take a deep breath. This is one to remember. Asked about the 21-year-old outfielder, White Sox manager Rick Renteria offered high praise.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Eloy Jimenez's first Major League Spring Training ended Wednesday morning when he was among eight players the White Sox sent to Minor League camp.

First impressions? Take a deep breath. This is one to remember. Asked about the 21-year-old outfielder, White Sox manager Rick Renteria offered high praise.

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"In terms of the impact, the skill, I remember going to camp one year with Ken Griffey Jr.," Renteria said. "If I had any youngster that in terms of how he impacted you so quickly -- I don't want to get ahead of myself -- but Eloy seems to be that type."

And that's pretty much what everyone around the White Sox saw in just a limited amount of time. Jimenez has been the crown jewel of a loaded farm system since arriving as part of the Jose Quintana trade with the Cubs last season.

Video: CWS@CHC: Jimenez puts Sox ahead with a two-run homer

Jimenez will begin the season at Double-A Birmingham, but it would surprise no one if he makes his Major League debut at some point this season. He is the No. 4 prospect in the Majors per MLB Pipeline and No. 1 in the White Sox system.

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Given his first shot in a Major League camp, Jimenez delivered. Despite missing two weeks with a sore left knee, he returned to play three games, reaching base six straight times at one point with two homers, two walks, a triple and a single. Jimenez batted .571 (4-for-7).

"He did a great job," Renteria said. "Everybody saw a little glimpse of what the young man's capable of doing. He's going to go down there and continue to work on his defense and get more at-bats and get himself ready, and hopefully puts himself in a position where we're all awaiting making the decision."

Video: Renteria discusses Eloy Jimenez being optioned

As for Jimenez, he's feeling good about the whole thing, too.

"I know that right now, that I belong here," Jimenez said through an interpreter. "I know that. That's for sure. When I'm going to be there, that's up to the team. They have to make a decision, and when they want me to be there, I'm going to be there. And when God also thinks it's the best time, I'm going to be there."

Among the other White Sox moves:

• Outfielder Daniel Palka and infielder Jose Rondon optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.

• Pitcher Ian Clarkin optioned to Double-A Birmingham.

• Outfielders Micker Adolfo and Luis Alexander Basabe optioned to to Class A Advanced Winston-Salem.

• Right-hander Dylan Cease and catcher Zack Collins assigned to Minor League camp.

Cease, 22, also made a big impression by pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings over three appearances. He finished last season at Class A Kannapolis and could advance quickly this season.

"I'll be leaving the camp feeling good about what I have to work on to keep progressing," Cease said Monday.

Video: CWS@SEA: Cease strikes out Segura to end the 1st

Cease's arrival has been overlooked at times because he came in the same trade with the Cubs that brought in Jimenez.

In Michael Kopech, Cease and Alec Hansen, the White Sox have three young pitchers ranked Nos. 10, 58 and 91 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list.

To have three pitchers at similar stages in their development -- along with Lucas Giolito and Carson Fulmer on the Major League staff -- creates a good work dynamic.

"It's really fun to be around this much talent," Cease said. "Good group of guys, very relaxed. It's been a good experience. It's always good when you can go and ask somebody, `Hey, you have a good slider. What are you doing differently?'

"It's nice there's that much talent here. It's fun to be a part of. You can definitely feel the atmosphere."

The White Sox have 45 players left in Major League camp: 24 pitchers, four catchers, 10 infielders and seven outfielders.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Chicago White Sox, Eloy Jimenez