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Sox: 'Premature' to consider Céspedes as Eloy replacement originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Yoelqui Céspedes has impressed the White Sox as part of the team's minicamp this spring.
But he's not an option to help make up for the loss of Eloy Jiménez right now.
The White Sox made a big splash on the international-signing front this winter when they landed Céspedes, the 23-year-old younger half-brother of big leaguer Yoenis Céspedes who was rated as the No. 1 prospect in this year's class.
But while the team has high hopes for one of the more recent exciting additions to their long line of Cuban players, he's not ready for the majors yet, with general manager Rick Hahn calling it "premature" to consider him among the team's internal options for replacing Jiménez, who will miss months — and perhaps the entire 2021 campaign — after tearing his pectoral tendon Wednesday.
"It's premature on that," Hahn said Thursday. "Here's a guy who had an extended layoff as part of his emigration and signing process. He was just getting back to regular baseball activities.
"I will say, what we’ve seen of him so far on the minor league side (of spring camp) or in the B or intrasquad games has been impressive. He’s obviously a talented player. There's a reason he was targeted. There's a reason he has such renown for his ability. But there's some rust there.
"We need to get him playing on a regular basis. Hopefully the minor league season starts on time and we are able to all see him together on a regular basis before putting him in the queue for the big leagues."
While Céspedes has been touted as "advanced" and "close to the major leagues," everything's relative. Remember that Luis Robert, too, had to spend time in the minor leagues — even getting his first action as a White Sox signee in the Dominican Summer League — to build his readiness for big league action.
White Sox fans should be excited at the prospect of Céspedes being a part of the outfield one day. He's been advertised as a five-tool player. But that day won't be today, even while the White Sox try to plug the gaping hole in left field created by the injury to Jiménez.
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