But the White Sox left fielder, who suffered a right mid-foot sprain while scoring a run in Cleveland on Thursday night, was not physically ready to be in the Game 1 starting lineup.
“We put him through the wringers and [still] a little discomfort, so we are going to have him hopefully available for maybe a big pinch-hit,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of Jiménez, who worked out on the field prior to Tuesday’s contest. “We’ll see how he responds to the medication. And again, he’s going to get back in there and get treated up again, and we’ll see where he’s at.”
Jiménez missed all three games against the Cubs over the weekend, and during a videoconference call on Monday, he admitted to having trouble even walking a few days ago because of the injury. But the gregarious 23-year-old seemed upbeat about his chances to play.
Renteria did not consider Jiménez’s results Tuesday morning as a setback.
“You have to continue to push him a little bit with the protocols they have in place for him to measure where he’s at, to give us an indication as to what he’s going to be able to do,” Renteria said. “We saw a limitation there.
“For us, it just makes sense if you are looking at the big picture to have him available potentially for an at-bat. The mobility would have been an issue.”
Leury García was reinstated from the 45-day injured list and started in left field in Jiménez’s absence. It’s difficult to replace the 45 home runs and 120 RBIs Jiménez has produced over the past two seasons, but García gives the White Sox a fleet-footed outfield combination with Luis Robert in center and Adam Engel -- who became the first White Sox player to homer in his first postseason at-bat on Tuesday -- in right. García also provides some offensive versatility as a switch-hitter.
García was out of action since Aug. 10 after having surgery to repair a severed ligament in his left thumb. He suffered the injury while sliding headfirst into first base.
“He’s been back with us, and he’s been doing a lot of different things before he rejoined us,” Renteria said. “We’ve seen him out there working out yesterday, and it’s like he didn’t skip a beat.
“I’m hoping that that’s the case all the way around. We’ve always been very, very confident about Leury. He can get out of bed and do a number of things, and hopefully that’s the case for us today.”
“Yeah, it just so happens right now we had a couple of options available to us in the DH slot,” Renteria said, hours before Grandal homered in the Game 1 win. “As it turns out, Grandy will be in that DH spot.
“We don’t want to lose that spot if something were to happen to Mac. We are confident in Zack. He can go in there and be able to manage a ballgame if need be.”
Here is the White Sox full Wild Card Series roster:
Pitchers (13): Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning, Alex Colomé (CL), Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall, Garrett Crochet, Carlos Rodón, Jace Fry, Codi Heuer, Matt Foster, Jimmy Cordero
Catchers (3): Yasmani Grandal, James McCann, Zack Collins
Infielders (5): José Abreu, Nick Madrigal, Tim Anderson, Yoán Moncada, Yolmer Sánchez
Designated hitter (1): Edwin Encarnación
Outfielders (6): Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert, Nomar Mazara, Adam Engel, Leury García, Jarrod Dyson