CHICAGO — It looks as if Chicago White Sox slugger Eloy Jiménez could spend a lot of time at designated hitter this year.
Jiménez himself has other plans.
The 26-year-old Jiménez said Monday he is preparing to play more games in the outfield, especially in right after Chicago signed Andrew Benintendi to a $75 million, five-year contract. The White Sox also have Luis Robert in center, to go along with Gavin Sheets and prized prospect Oscar Colás in the mix in right.
Jiménez was sidelined for a couple months last season after he had surgery in April to repair a torn hamstring tendon behind his right knee. He returned in July and finished with a career-high 50 starts at DH — not exactly his favorite opening in the lineup.
Asked if he would embrace the DH role this year, Jiménez responded: “I don’t know."
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“Last year, when I was DH’ing more than (playing) the outfield, it was because I got surgery. And I understand that,” he said. "But this year, I’ve been working really hard to play the outfield more than DH. So I don’t really think that I’m going to accept it, because if I’m working hard, I’m going to get better, and I want to play in the outfield.”
Jiménez has been a bit of an adventure in the outfield since he made his major league debut with Chicago in 2019. He missed the start of the 2021 season after he ruptured his left pectoral tendon trying to make a defensive play during an exhibition game.
But he remains a force at the plate, and there is no questioning his importance to the White Sox.
After Jiménez returned last year, he hit .305 with 15 homers, 47 RBIs and an .895 OPS in his last 73 games. He bashed 31 homers during his rookie year in 2019, and then batted .296 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs in 55 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Chicago went 81-81 in 2022 and missed the playoffs after reaching the postseason in the previous two years.
“We just need to be healthy, that’s the key right now,” Jiménez said. “If we’re healthy, we can do whatever because we are good on paper. But if we don’t play together as a team because of the injuries, we’re not going to do it, you know? We’re not going to make it.”
Angels off market
Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno has decided not to sell the team. Moreno has announced he is taking his franchise off the market.
The 76-year-old owner announced his plan to explore a sale of the team last August, and he met with interested buyers during the winter.
Moreno said he has unfinished business with the Angels, who haven't won a playoff game since 2009.
Moreno bought the franchise in 2003. The Angels currently have the majors' longest streaks with seven straight losing seasons and eight straight non-playoff seasons.
The Minnesota Twins have acquired veteran outfielder Michael A. Taylor from the Kansas City Royals for two relief pitching prospects.
Taylor should provide depth and defense to Minnesota's outfield. He batted .254 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs in 414 at-bats last season for the Royals. That was his second year with the club after spending his first seven major league seasons with Washington.
Taylor was a Gold Glove winner in his Royals debut in 2021. He gives the Twins a third outfielder on the roster who has won the award, joining Byron Buxton and newcomer Joey Gallo.
Trey Mancini is planning to move around with the Chicago Cubs. He could see time at designated hitter, first base and the corner outfield spots after finalizing a two-year contract that could be worth up to $21 million.
Mancini was in the mix for Team Italy for the World Baseball Classic, but he said he has decided to stay in Cubs camp so he can spend time with his new teammates.
First baseman Eric Hosmer finalized his deal with Chicago on Jan. 13.
Hosmer bats from the left side and Mancini is a right-handed hitter, so the starter might depend on the pitching matchup, and there also is the DH role. Or Mancini could spell Ian Happ or Seiya Suzuki in the outfield.
New Milwaukee Brewers acquisition Brian Anderson is hoping he can recapture the hitting success he enjoyed earlier in his career now that his shoulder isn't bothering him anymore.
The Brewers announced the signing of Anderson on Monday without detailng terms. A person close to the situation said the former Miami Marlins third baseman/right fielder received a one-year, $3.5 million contract and could earn an additional $2 million in performance bonuses.
Anderson said the Brewers have indicated he primarily will play third base for them while also making occasional appearances in the outfield and first base.