Sox ‘optimistic' Eloy, Robert will return later this season


The Chicago White Sox don't know when Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert will return from their significant injuries.

But the team is optimistic it will be before the end of the 2021 season.

Jiménez has been on the shelf since rupturing his pectoral tendon at the end of spring training, and Robert has been sidelined since early May after tearing his hip flexor. The two were both slated to miss months, and their recoveries will likely soak up a significant chunk of the remaining regular-season schedule.

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But White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday that the team is nearing the point where they will have some more specifics as to how long those absences will last.

"Both (Robert) and Eloy are progressing well," Hahn said. "Their trajectories are both good, and we remain optimistic on both returning at some point this year.

"Ultimately, on both players, just sort of manage what is coming next. On both players, at some point, we would hope to be able to say they’ve been cleared to resume baseball activities. At that point, given how much time they’ve missed, it’s still going to be a several-week process before they are ready for a rehab assignment. That would be the next stage. And only once they are headed for rehab assignment am I going to be able to give you a satisfying answer when can we expect them back.

"Each of them are deep into Phase 1 (of their recoveries) and closing in on getting ready for Part 2, which is the clearance and resumption of baseball activity."

None of that is terribly specific. But considering that it was possible, when their respective injuries were announced, that both players could miss the remainder of the season, hearing that the White Sox are optimistic about getting both outfielders back strikes as significant.

Obviously, the White Sox would benefit greatly from the return of one or both guys, two of the most important players on the roster for both the organization's short- and long-term goals. With the team doing a good job of keeping its World Series hopes afloat in their absences, their returns could be a late-season spark unlike any other and mean big things in the middle of a pennant race.

With Nick Madrigal joining the two with a months-long injury of his own, it would not exactly be shocking if the sum total of these injuries to key players started having negative effects on the White Sox championship chase. But taking Jiménez and Robert off that list, eventually, would do much to reverse any.

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