Eloy Jimenez

How do the White Sox build the lineup when Eloy Jiménez returns?

Eloy Jiménez and Elvis Andrus will soon return to the lineup from their respective injuries.

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Eloy Jiménez is currently undergoing a rehab stint with the Double-A Birmingham Barons that is projected, by Pedro Grifol and the White Sox, to be short-lived before they decide his next steps.  

Upon his inevitable return -- and that of Elvis Andrus from an oblique strain -- how will Grifol and the White Sox construct the lineup?

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Inevitably, the White Sox will be forced to make roster moves pending the returns of Jiménez and Andrus. My guess is one of Hanser Alberto, Adam Haseley or Clint Frazier heads to the minor leagues in conjunction. 

The goal for Grifol will be keeping Jake Burger, along with the hot bats, in the lineup. Burger has excelled at the plate this season, slashing .257/.315/.634 there. He hit seven home runs in April and has added three in May, along with 23 RBIs this season. 

But, Yoán Moncada also needs a spot in the infield. Moncada and Burger both play third base. And what about Gavin Sheets? He hit over .300 in April and plays a significant role as a lefty power hitter. Yasmani Grandal is another factor to consider. His .279 batting average and team fourth-place hits (38) and walks (12) -- along with his left-handed bat -- give enough reason to consider him for the DH spot when he's not catching. 

There are plenty of ways you can do this, so strap in. This is a lengthy one. 

Changing around the infield

This move strictly revolves around finagling the infield. Instead of playing Jake Burger at his natural position -- third base -- Grifol pairs him with Tim Anderson in the middle infield at second base.

Over his professional career, Burger has played at second base 13 times, three times in the majors and 10 times in the minors. According to James Fegan, the White Sox are open to placing Burger at second base to keep him in the lineup. 

This lineup:

Infielders: Moncada, Anderson, Burger, Vaughn
Outfielders: Benintendi, Robert Jr., Jiménez/Sheets
DH: Sheets/Jiménez, Grandal

Make Sheets utility

If Grifol would prefer a sturdier middle infield, the challenge becomes deciding who to throw in the designated hitter spot. If you're OK with Jiménez in right field, it becomes a little easier. If not, it's a challenge. 

This pushes Sheets, a unique lefty power bat for the Sox' lineup, to the bench; although, you could sub him in at first base for Vaughn (refer to next bullet). Sheets can also play right field or the designated hitter spot. 

This lineup:

Infielders: Moncada, Anderson, Andrus/Gonzalez, Vaughn/Sheets
Outfielders: Benintendi, Robert Jr., Jiménez/Sheets
DH: Burger, Grandal, Jiménez/Sheets

Bench Vaughn

There's no way around it, Andrew Vaughn hasn't been performing his best at the plate recently. He's batting .205 in May with 17 hits and 19 strikeouts over the last 22 games. His best hitting hasn't come this month. 

Vaughn isn't necessarily a lockdown defender either. He's an average first baseman with the lowest speed on the team. Sheets could perform equally as well at first base. 

This lineup:

Infield: Moncada, Anderson, Andrus/Gonzalez, Sheets
Outfield: Benintendi, Robert Jr., Jiménez
DH: Burger or Grandal

Jiménez at DH

This could be the case for the beginning games Jiménez returns to the lineup. However, it should be noted he's been playing right field in Double-A and he made a spectacular catch in the corner of the stadium recently. 

This play shouldn't be definitive evidence for Jiménez playing in right field. Given he's only played 25 games this season, it's probably the smartest idea to start. This lineup puts them in handcuffs, however. Mainly with Burger. 

This lineup:

Infield: Moncada/Burger, Anderson, Andrus/Gonzalez, Vaughn
Outfield: Benintendi, Robert Jr., Sheets
DH: Jiménez, Grandal

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