Things will be different for Eloy Jiménez this season. With Andrew Benintendi taking over as the White Sox primary left fielder, Jiménez is preparing for a position change to right field. With any luck 2023 will be the year Jiménez surpasses 100 games played for the first time since his rookie season, too.
Jiménez is determined to stay healthy this season and to play better when he is in the lineup, so he’s gotten an early start to his training regimen. He’s worked on his movement in the field and familiarizing himself with his new position. Overall, Jiménez said he feels great with where he’s at.
When asked about any changes he made to his conditioning this year, however, Jiménez played coy.
“I’m gonna give you a surprise,” Jiménez said. “I’m not gonna answer right now. You’re gonna see me in Spring Training.”
It’s a mysterious answer from one of the White Sox’ most fun-loving players. Will he beef up to try to mash 60 homers? Or will he slim down to add some speed to his game? Jiménez wouldn’t give any hints when pressed for more details.
“I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. It’s going to be a surprise.”
Jiménez was one of the most promising prospects in the White Sox organization when he made through the ranks, and showed impressive power when he finally debuted in 2019. Injuries have derailed his ability to make a major impact in the win-loss record, however. Jiménez only played in 139 of 324 games over the past two seasons.
The biggest setback in 2022 was a torn hamstring tendon behind his knee that required surgery. Now, Jiménez that knee feels good and he’s ready to tackle the new year with fresh legs. Since he won’t be hobbled, Jiménez hopes to play in right field more than DH this season. It remains to be seen how much Jiménez will end up playing in the field, but new White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said in an interview with 670TheScore last week that he’s looking forward to seeing what Jiménez can do in his new spot as the team sorts out who will earn the most playing time there.
White Sox pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 15. The rest of the team will join on Feb. 20.