Jiménez, 26, is estimated to miss 2-3 weeks after suffering the injury going first to third on Andrew Vaughn’s run-scoring double in the seventh inning of a 12-3 loss to San Francisco during Monday’s home opener at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Although Jiménez alerted the White Sox staff about feeling something in his hamstring, he felt comfortable enough to be ready for his next at-bat with the possibility of a pinch-runner if he reached first. Hanser Alberto, a veteran position player who replaced a struggling José Ruiz on the mound in the ninth, hit in Jiménez’s spot in the order in the bottom half of the frame.
“It's one of those things,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “He worked hard this offseason. He put the work in. He put the time in.
“He's in great shape. It's just one of those things that happens, unfortunately. But the good thing is today he came in and he felt strong. We're extremely optimistic he's going to be available for us here in the near future.”
An end of April return seems most likely for Jiménez, who is hitting .200 with two doubles and three RBIs in five games. He sustained a torn hamstring tendon behind his right knee while running to first base on April 23, 2022, against the Twins at Target Field, and he missed almost the first four months of the ‘21 season due to a left pectoral tear suffered at the end of Spring Training.
But Jiménez came into this Spring Training down 25 pounds from 2022, and he had a successful run for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Jiménez expressed his desire not to be a full-time designated hitter, and his offseason work had earned him potential time in right field, especially against left-handed pitchers.
“Right now, this is his first day on the IL. We'll play that as it goes,” Grifol said. “It's too soon to be talking about that. We'll see how he comes back.
“I'm really optimistic this is not going to be too long and he's going to come back strong because he put the work in this offseason. He really did and he looks great. He's going to have a really good year.”
Burger, 26, is 2-for-12 (.167) in three games with Charlotte this season after slashing .263/.300/.491 with four home runs and nine RBIs over 23 Cactus League games. He appeared in 51 games with the White Sox in 2022, slashing .250/.302/.458 with nine doubles, eight homers and 26 RBIs. He is a potential option to play first and third, but he should split time as the DH with Gavin Sheets.
“I’ve learned a lot from Gavin Sheets in that regard,” Burger said of DHing. “Last year, I had a decent amount of opportunities to DH as well and I like it. I feel comfortable there. It’s interesting because in Spring Training, you are DHing and you don’t have a cage to work in. Up here, you have a cage to work in. You can stay a little looser.”
“When I sent Burger down I told him that he was a Major League hitter,” Grifol said. “That was one of the hardest send downs I've ever had in my career, and that's including Minor Leagues and everything. And the reason was because I really feel like he's a Major League hitter.”