Eloy Jiménez made things clear when he addressed the media on Thursday. He wouldn’t have been able to progress in his rehab from a torn pectoral tendon and return to baseball action early if it wasn’t for a little help from his friends.
“The support they give me is very important, because if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t put in the effort to go back at this point,” Jiménez said. “First, God. After, my family. But third, my second family, is my team. They support me and that’s why I work hard to get back to this point, and just playing with them. Because that’s all I want. To play with my team.”
Jiménez wasn’t shy when talking about his feelings over his time away from the team. He even revealed there were times when he wouldn’t watch the White Sox play because it would make him sad that he couldn’t be out on the field alongside them.
“It’s been a little bit tough, because what happened to me was a week before the season started,” Jiménez said. “So, it was a little bit tough, because I’ve dealt with a lot of injuries. But at the same time, my guys supported me. For me, that was special. I put in the work, because I felt like they had my back.”
Not surprisingly, the teammate who spoke with Jiménez the most during his rehab was longtime mentor José Abreu. In addition, Jiménez kept in touch with Yoán Moncada and sometimes even spoke to the whole team at once on speaker phone.
But one unique support for Jiménez was Luis Robert, who is in the middle of an extensive injury rehab of his own.
“We helped each other because we tried to compete,” Jiménez said. “We try to do our best every single day, and we put in the effort to be the best every single day. That’s why we’re going to be back sooner rather than later. Sometimes you’re not going to feel right, because we are humans and what happened to us, we don’t want to happen.
“I don’t like it, because one of my teammates got hurt, but that did help me a lot, and helped him a lot, to get back sooner rather than later.”
When Jiménez initially underwent surgery to repair his tendon, the hope was that he could rejoin the team towards the end of August or September. But on Thursday, Jiménez said he’s hopeful he can return by the end of July. He and the White Sox won’t go as far as laying out a specific timeline for his return, however, until they see how his body responds to playing full 9-inning games, and playing on consecutive days.
“I’m blessed, but I still put in the work. I think that’s why I’m here today.”