Immediately after the injury -- stemming from a collision with center fielder Charles Tilson while chasing a Whit Merrifield fly ball to left-center -- Jimenez, who was in the training room for about two hours, had numbness running down his arm into his fingers, according to general manager Rick Hahn. That reaction was part of the reason the White Sox sent Jimenez back to Chicago to make sure he got a full work over. He will rejoin the team in Tampa Bay this weekend to continue his treatment and he will be reevaluated on Monday in Chicago.
Following that next evaluation, the White Sox will have a better sense as to how long Jimenez will be sidelined. But this injury could well be a couple of weeks incident.
“He’s already feeling better today. The examination today showed improvement from last night and everyone is optimistic,” Hahn said. “But given the uniqueness of the symptoms, we wanted to make sure he got to Chicago. We are going to err on the side of caution here.”
Tilson made the catch, after covering a great deal of ground, but Jimenez, also running hard to make the play, banged his right arm into Tilson’s jaw. Jimenez was down on the warning track for a few minutes, as manager Rick Renteria ran out to check on him along with assistant athletic trainer Brett Walker.
“It’s a tough play. We are both running full speed,” Tilson said. “I called it, called it late. He probably didn’t hear me. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about it. Really unfortunate. As an outfielder, you feel terrible, especially a guy like Eloy, who means so much to our lineup.
“We’ll talk it through. We are both playing hard and doing the best we can. He’s going after it as hard as he can. I’m going after it. I felt like I had a good shot at it. When I realized, I screamed, ‘I got it. I got it.’
“But I think his arm must have been caught up in a weird angle. Man, really unfortunate. I just hope he can bounce back.”
“I’m sure they were both commanding the ball,” Renteria said. “When you talk to your outfielders, you have to call it as loud and constantly as you possibly can, and they remember the priority guy. And one has to deviate. It kind of looked like Eloy was going behind him, but I don’t know if ... obviously they made contact.”
Through 67 games, Jimenez is hitting .244 with 17 home runs and 39 RBIs. His 17 homers lead all American League rookies. Hahn believes Jimenez has improved significantly in left field since the start of the season, although there’s still room for improvement. Hahn doesn’t feel Jimenez’s ongoing defensive development heightens the risk of losing his offensive prowess through injury, as has now happened twice this season.
“Last night the issue was he didn’t hear the center fielder calling for the ball,” Hahn said. “It’s a bit of a fluke thing, but something that will improve with time and as he gets more comfortable with whoever is out here with him.”