Pedro Grifol wouldn’t categorize Eloy Jiménez’s status as day to day.
But the Chicago White Sox manager said it’s possible that the outfielder/designated hitter could return to action in four to five days as he recovers from left lower-leg discomfort.
“You still have to see how he progresses,” Grifol said Friday afternoon. “But overall, a pretty good exam. You always want to avoid the DL, but sometimes it’s inevitable. In this particular case, the evaluation was good, it was positive. He’s not day-to-day, we’re looking at probably 4-5 days.”
The Sox were without Jiménez for Friday’s series opener against the Miami Marlins at Guaranteed Rate Field.
He exited the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the ninth after running slowly to first while trying to beat out a double play. The throw to first was wild and Jiménez reached second, and he was checked on by the training staff before leaving the game.
Grifol said the injury was “like right below the calf.”
“I think he felt it in the first game,” Grifol said. “That’s what he said to me, he felt it a little bit in the first game and didn’t think too much of it and then felt it obviously in that double play.”
Jiménez played a big role in the first game of the doubleheader, hitting the go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning. It was the final of four homers hit by the Sox, as he joined Jake Burger, Luis Robert Jr. and Yoán Moncada in the 6-5 victory.
It was the first time Jiménez, Robert and Moncada homered in the same game.
“That’s crazy because I thought we had that kind of game before,” Jiménez said Thursday in New York after being told the note between games of the doubleheader.
Grifol said Friday of the trio: “They’re capable of doing that a lot in this game, especially when they’re in the lineup together and they’re healthy together, so it doesn’t surprise me that they did it, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they did it again.”
While Moncada is aiming to return to his nice start — he’s hitting 7-for-52 (.135) with a homer and four RBIs in his last 16 games — Robert strung together three multihit games in his last four entering Friday, hitting .467 during the stretch.
Robert is 11-for-31 (.355) with one homer, one RBI and four multihit performances in his last eight games.
“He continues to work on the things he needs to improve on,” Grifol said of Robert after Thursday’s Game 1, when he had three hits. “With him, it’s all about swinging at strikes. He continues to work on it and (Thursday) he had a really good first game, swinging at strikes.
“If he can get pitches in the strike zone, he’s going to be really, really dangerous. We think he’s dangerous now, if he can consistently get pitches in the strike zone, really special things.”
Robert, who with 14 homers has already surpassed his total of 12 last season, and Moncada will be among those counted on without Jiménez.
Jiménez is slashing .257/.315/.434 with six homers and 24 RBIs in 35 games during a season that was interrupted by an appendectomy in early May. He has two homers and nine RBIs in his 10 games since returning.
“He had it in his mind that he was going to come back sooner rather than later, and he did a really good job on the mental side of it,” Grifol said Friday. “He made it back and he picked up right where he left off. Big home run yesterday. He’s done a good job.”
As Jiménez recovers, the Sox can utilize both Burger and Gavin Sheets.
“When you have the depth that we have, the key is to keep guys in rhythm,” Grifol said. “Sometimes it’s hard. We’ve avoided the handiness part of it — righties you play, lefties you play — we’ve gone a little deeper than that. That’s how we’ve been able to keep them in rhythm and when you do have an injury, it allows for others to just go ahead and take the bulk of those ABs.
“Grateful that we have some depth to be able to do that. We certainly miss Eloy’s bat, but we replace Eloy with a Sheets or Burger, that’s pretty good. I prefer having them all, but for the next four, five days we won’t.”