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Eloy's return 'invaluable' to Sox, says Lucas Giolito

/ by Vinnie Duber
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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MILWAUKEE — Eloy's comin', hide your heart girl.

The Chicago White Sox won't be able to heed Three Dog Night's advice Monday, when their left fielder is expected to make his long awaited return after months recovering from a devastating springtime injury.

Considering it was possible that Eloy Jiménez might have missed the entirety of the 2021 campaign, that he's making his return before the end of July is pretty remarkable.

RELATED: Eloy expected back with Sox on Monday vs. Royals

That his extraordinarily productive and dangerous bat will get reinserted back into the middle of the White Sox lineup?

Well, it's "invaluable."

"It's huge," White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito told NBC Sports Chicago on Sunday after hearing that Jiménez would be back for the first time. "Obviously, the bat speaks for itself. Having him in the lineup again, giving (José Abreu) some protection. ... Power, homers. That's on the more physical side.

"But as far as Eloy Jiménez as a person, what he brings to our club as a teammate, a positive force, no matter what, always smiling, that's something that is invaluable. He's such a great presence in our clubhouse, on our team.

"So it's going to be a really, really fun day tomorrow having him back."

The White Sox are indeed allowed to celebrate. At the time of year when impact additions are made, there might be no more impact move made across baseball than Jiménez, a 2020 Silver Slugger, rejoining the South Siders, who already spent the last four months establishing themselves as true World Series contenders.

 

Of course, Jiménez is just the first of three middle-of-the-order bats that are anticipated to return to the White Sox over the course of the next several weeks. Center fielder Luis Robert is currently on his own rehab assignment. And catcher Yasmani Grandal is already working his way back just two and a half weeks after knee surgery.

Rick Hahn and the White Sox front office are expected to take an aggressive approach this week before Friday's trade deadline in seeking roster improvements. But no team can even contemplate a haul as big as Jiménez, Robert and Grandal.

"Those are three very key, key, key players," Giolito said. "In Yaz's case, obviously he gets on base a lot, and his bat was starting to heat up immensely. So that was a tough loss. But he'll be back, he'll be fine. ... Luis Robert, an offensive catalyst, good ABs, hits for power, hits the ball really hard. And then obviously his defense.

"Having Eloy, having all three of those guys back's going to be great."

Despite a huge lead in the American League Central, where no team has done much to impede the White Sox ascent to first place, feelings are mixed at the moment following back-to-back blowout losses to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday and Saturday, a pair of stumbles against a fellow championship contender.

But getting Jiménez back — and Robert and Grandal after him — is enough to inject a whopping amount of positivity into this team.

"It's a big boost," Giolito said. "This series has been frustrating up to this point. Guys going out there, grinding out ABs, a lot of tired legs, stuff like that.

"So reinforcements are always welcome, especially reinforcements with the pedigree that those three guys have."

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