Sox, La Russa preach patience with Eloy

July 24th, 2021

MILWAUKEE -- If the catch he made earlier this week is any indication, Eloy Jiménez looks to be fully recovered from the ruptured pectoral tendon that's kept him out of big league action all season.

But the White Sox need Jiménez to be more than just physically ready to perform before bringing him back in an attempt to help lock down the American League Central ahead of a potential playoff run.

"It starts with physically being ready to play, and play a lot," manager Tony La Russa said Friday before the White Sox opened a three-game series against the Brewers. "But you don't want him to come back up here unless he's got some timing at the plate because he's going to want to -- and he's going to be expected to -- produce right away."

Through his first 10 rehab games, Jiménez slashed .289/.341/.500 with two home runs. Eight of those games have come with Triple-A Charlotte, which once again featured Jiménez batting third and playing left field Friday night.

La Russa said Jiménez's progress was "very encouraging," but he wasn't worrying about when he'd be back in Chicago's lineup.

"Especially with Milwaukee this weekend, we've got a lot to think about," La Russa said. "I've been in touch with the front office and I know they've gotten reports back on his progress. So at this point, everything is going forward, but I haven't heard a deadline."

Good things from Goodwin

After getting a break Wednesday when the White Sox wrapped up their three-game series at Minnesota, Brian Goodwin was back in the starting lineup Friday night against the Brewers, batting second and playing right field.

Goodwin's performance since getting called up in early June is one of the main reasons why Chicago came into the series with an MLB-best 9-game lead in the AL Central despite losing key contributors like Jiménez and Luis Robert to injury for much of the first half.

Through his first 30 games, Goodwin batted .259 with four home runs and 16 RBIs while drawing 13 walks to contribute to a .339 on-base percentage and an .802 OPS.

Beyond that, he's also been a strong defensive contributor, playing all three outfield spots.

"Every day, he's done something," La Russa said. "When you write out a list of guys who've come through when we've needed it the most, his name is as high up as [anybody]."

Rivalry renewed

Chicago holds a 207-179 advantage in the all-time series vs. the Brewers, which dates back to 1970. The teams played each other annually as members of the American League from '70-'97.

The White Sox have won nine of the last 11 meetings in Milwaukee, including two last season.