White Sox

Lucas Giolito makes early exit from start with left hamstring tightness

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USA TODAY

Lucas Giolito makes early exit from start with left hamstring tightness

Lucas Giolito's quest for a bounce-back 2019 season might have hit a bit of a snag.

The tall right-hander departed Wednesday's start against the Kansas City Royals much earlier than hoped, exiting in the top of the third inning with an apparent left leg injury. The White Sox announced it as left hamstring tightness and described him as day-to-day.

Giolito looked mighty distraught as he left the field, heading into the third-base dugout and covering his face with his glove as he made his way toward the clubhouse.

Giolito was once again squaring off against the team he excelled against during the season's opening weekend, when he pitched what he called his best game in a White Sox uniform, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium. He was on his way to what might have been another memorable outing Wednesday, with five strikeouts through the first nine hitters he faced and no hits allowed.

But Giolito did not react favorably to this injury after throwing a few test pitches after suffering the injury on a pitch to Alex Gordon with two outs in the third inning. Upon delivering that pitch, Giolito winced and hobbled on his left leg, the immediate sign that something didn't feel right, sparking Rick Renteria's visit to the mound with the trainer.

Giolito led baseball's qualified pitchers in ERA and WHIP during his first full season in the majors last year, also leading the American League in walks. But he talked happily of the lessons those struggles gave him heading into this season. After that stellar outing against the Royals in Kansas City, he followed it up with five runs in 4.1 innings against the Seattle Mariners and four earned runs in five innings on a rainy night against the New York Yankees. A bounce-back performance Wednesday would have been a good step as he continued his search for consistency. But he wasn't able to finish his outing.

The White Sox will now wait to see if they need a replacement in the starting rotation or not. There's not a ton of depth within the organization, and should Giolito miss any amount of time, the team would most likely turn to Dylan Covey, who made the Opening Day bullpen out of spring training but was dispatched to Triple-A Charlotte to get more work as a starter. The White Sox could also yank long man Manny Banuelos out of the big league bullpen if they wanted to, though that would create a vacancy there.

But the short-term stopgaps in the rotation would be of secondary concern, with the primary focus on what this injury would mean for Giolito's continued development at the major league level. That's all to be determined right now.

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Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

The temperature is rising on the South Side, and if you look outside, you know it has nothing to do with Mother Nature.

Instead, it’s a heat wave coming from a fresh-faced 22-year-old slugger who’s crushing baseballs, igniting a fan base and screaming “Hi Mom!” to his actual mother whenever he spots a TV camera with its red light on.

Eloy Jimenez has arrived with the White Sox, and according to a New York Yankees All Star who has known him for years, the best is yet to come.

“Not this year, but next year, he’s going to be even better,” infielder Gleyber Torres said about Jimenez.

The two of them were signed by that team across town in 2013 when they were both 16 years old. They were practically inseparable back then, and they remain tight to this day.

“I talk with Gleyber pretty much every single day now. He’s kind of like my brother,” Jimenez said. “We haven’t lost that communication, and I think that’s good for us.”

Torres echoed similar thoughts about Jimenez.

“In my first couple years with the Cubs, he was my roommate every day. We’ve got a really good relationship. We’re like brothers. We are really good friends,” Torres said. “I’m just happy to see what he’s doing right now.”

Which, lately, has been just about everything.

There was that majestic home run Jimenez belted on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals that landed on the center field concourse at Guaranteed Rate Field, the two walks the next day when the Yankees decided to pitch around Jimenez as if he was a perennial All Star, and then the two-homer game on Friday: The first one gave the White Sox the lead, the second stuck a dagger into the Yankees, as well as the heart of his longtime friend.

“For sure, I didn’t like it,” Torres said with a smile about Jimenez’s two-homer, six-RBI game. “I’m not surprised. I knew Eloy before he signed with the Cubs out of the Dominican. He’s a big dude. The power is coming every day.”

How good can Jimenez be? Torres, who plays on a star-studded team with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius, sees Jimenez reaching the same stratosphere.

“He can be a star for all of MLB. He’s just a young guy right now, but when he matures a little more, he can do everything.”

Jimenez is turning up the heat in Chicago, and it’s not even summer yet.

The South Side can’t wait for the sizzle to come.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Eloy is coming? No. Eloy is here!

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Eloy is coming? No. Eloy is here!

Eloy Jimenez has arrived.

His rookie season has become special with big games and big moments, the latest being his two-homer, six RBI game against the Yankees. Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the magic of Eloy (1:30). Chuck interviews Jimenez after the game (6:20), Lucas Giolito is the first 10-game winner in baseball. Let that sink in (8:00). Die-hard White Sox fan Frank Kaminsky rips Cubs fans (13:00) and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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