Eloy lifts off for Knights in rehab game

Top White Sox prospect is 6-for-16 in four Triple-A contests

Eloy Jimenez had a .674 OPS in 79 Major League at-bats before suffering a high right ankle sprain. (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | May 17, 2019 10:54 PM

Eloy Jimenez has no plans to stay long with Triple-A Charlotte, but he's making the most of his time with his old club.

The top White Sox prospect drilled a solo homer and singled in the Knights' 10-2 win over Lehigh Valley on Friday at BB&T Ballpark. He's 6-for-16 with two extra-base hits in four rehab games with Charlotte. 

The 22-year-old made the big club out of Spring Training and batted .241/.294/.380 with three homers and eight RBIs in 21 games before suffering a high right ankle sprain that sent him to the 10-day injured list, retroactive to April 27.

Video: Jimenez cranks solo shot

Fast forward about two weeks and MLB.com's No. 3 overall prospect began his rehab stint with the Knights. He laced a double in his first game back on Tuesday and had three singles in his next two games before finding his power stroke in the third inning Friday.

Facing IronPigs starter Alexis Rivero, he and Danny Mendick went back-to-back to give Charlotte a 3-2 lead. Jimenez's shot came on a 1-1 pitch and cleared the left field wall. 

Gameday box score

The native of the Dominican Republic singled through the right side in the eighth for his second hit of the night. 

Jimenez is ticketed for Chicago in the near future and is hoping he can return to his mid-April form. A hot streak raised his average to .319 on April 12, but he went 4-for-32 prior to his injury. 

"It shouldn't take long [before he returns]," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told MLB.com earlier this week. "Keep in mind this is partially making sure he's obviously fully healed from the ankle injury. But at the same time, between the [injured list] placement and the bereavement list, he's been away from live pitching for a while. We need to get him his timing back as well." 

Tweet from @CaballerosdeCLT: Danny Mendick recibe torta en la cara de parte de Collins y Eloy Jim��nez en la entrevista con Tommy Viola.Clipped with @SporfieMoments pic.twitter.com/VCob3Qpabw

Last year, baseball's top outfield prospect hit .337/.384/.577 with 22 homers and 75 RBIs between Double-A Birmingham (53 games) and Charlotte (55 games) to earn MiLB.com Organization All-Star honors for the third straight season. After joining the White Sox for Spring Training, he agreed to a six-year contract extension worth $43 million with two club options at the end of the deal. 

Jimenez has played four straight days, a significant step in any rehab process.

"We expect, more than anything, playing consecutive games after having been down might be more of the issue than worrying about his health," White Sox manager Rick Renteria told MLB.com. "It's just one of those things where we'll wait to see how he's doing once he arrives."

2019 MiLB include

On the mound, Dylan Cease (3-1) picked up the win after allowing three runs on nine hits and a walk with eight punchouts over six innings. The fourth-ranked White Sox, who came over from the Cubs in the same trade that sent Jimenez to the South Side, started his season with a pair of scoreless starts and his ERA sits at 3.71. 

For the right-hander, the nine hits matched a career high, established last May 11 with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. He lasted two innings in that outing. 

Mendick went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored, finishing a triple shy of a cycle. Former Royals teammates Alcides Escobar and Paulo Orlando also homered for Charlotte. 

Lane Adams picked up three hits, including a two-run homer off Cease, for the IronPigs. 

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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