CHICAGO ( Associated Press) — It looks like Chicago White Sox slugger Aloy Jimenez may spend a lot of time at designated hitter this year.
The Dominican has other plans.
Jimenez, 26, indicated Monday that he is preparing to play more games in the outfield, specifically right field after Chicago signed Andrew Benintendi to a five-year contract. The White Sox also have Cuban Luis Robert up center with Gavin Sheets and Cuban prospect Oscar Collas in the battle for right.
Jimenez was sidelined for a few months last season, having surgery in April to repair a torn tendon in the back of his right knee. He returned in July and finished with a career-high 50 games as the designated hitter.
When asked if he would accept the role of designated hitter, the Dominican replied: “I don’t know.”
“Last year, when I was a designated hitter more than an outfielder, it was because of surgery. I understand it,” he said. “But this year I’m trying really hard to be more in the outfield than DH. So I don’t think I’m going to take it for granted because I’m working hard.”
Jimenez has moved to the outfield since making his major league debut for Chicago in 2019. He missed the start of the 2021 season after injuring his left pectoral tendon on a defensive play in an exhibition duel.
But he’s still a force at the plate, and there’s no questioning his importance with the White Sox.
After returning last season, he hit .305 with 15 home runs, 47 RBI and .895 OPS in his last 73 games. He hit 31 home runs in his rookie season and hit .296 with 14 home runs and 41 RBI in 55 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Chicago finished 2022 with an 81–81 record and narrowly missed the playoffs the previous two years.