The Chicago White Sox may be without one of their key players, as star outfielder Eloy Jimenez suffered a "significant" bone bruise when a foul ball hit him in the dugout at the RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland.
Jimenez immediately crumpled to the ground after being struck, but was able to return to the field the following inning. He was lifted a few frames later as he began to develop a noticeable limp while rounding the bases.
The injury comes as the Sox are ramping up their intensity ahead of the postseason.
The 24-year-old has had a 2021 season marred by injuries. His campaign didn't begin until late July after he tore his his left pectoral tendon in March.
"It was a long process but I'm finally back," he told reporters in July. "I feel 200 percent right now."
Since his return, he's hitting .269 with eight homers, 18 runs, 30 RBI and an .819 OPS.
Jimenez burst onto the scene in his 2019 rookie season, blasting 31 homers and 79 RBI in just 122 games. He kept up that pace in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, hitting .296 with 14 homers, 41 RBI and an .891 OPS.
While any Jimenez injury is a major concern, the one nice thing for the White Sox is that they've long had the AL Central crown wrapped up and currently hold an 11-game lead over Cleveland. No need to rush him back in that regard.
The White Sox have weathered injuries to Jimenez, Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal (lost for the season). All key players, and yet Chicago keeps chugging along. With the Dominican potentially sidelined again, don't expect that to change.
In his absence, look for the return of Gavin Sheets to the starting lineup.