Rick Hahn met with the media on Thursday afternoon to discuss the injury to outfielder Eloy Jimenez amongst other topics.
The brutal news came when Hahn confirmed that Jimenez suffered a ruptured left pectoral tendon, an injury that requires surgical repair. The prized slugger will miss around five to six months, which would put him back in action in late August or September based on traditional timelines with this injury. This news comes not long after the club announced that Adam Engel is dealing a hamstring strain and Liam Hendriks was on the tail end of dealing with kidney stones.
Hahn expressed that while the injury is disappointing, he can’t get too upset because Jimenez was trying to make a play. It is a player’s desire to play hard and make a difference that makes him likable.
As the team moves on without a dejected Jimenez, replacements need to be considered. Hahn discussed in-house names such as Leury Garcia, Adam Engel, Nick Williams, and Billy Hamilton. He also entertained the possibility of Andrew Vaughn playing the outfield. As expected, Hahn also did not rule out going outside of the organization to fill the void. He did, however, say that this decision won’t be rushed. One name that seems premature to Hahn is Yoelqui Cespedes, who still needs time to knock the rust off, but has impressive tools in his game bag.
There is belief within the organization that the clubhouse, filled with vibrant, youthful stars and savvy veterans, can overcome this adversity and keep their focus on the ultimate goal. While the Jimenez injury news is tough, the group understands that they need to move on and win baseball games.
Despite today’s bad news, Hahn expressed excitement with the team and the camp overall. He explained that players like Zack Collins have had a great spring and deserve credit for their hard work and improvement. The basis of his words was that the injury is a big blow, but the team needs to move on and put forth the best group of 26 guys on Opening Day.
Shortly after Hahn spoke, manager Tony La Russa fielded questions as well. The biggest takeaway is that he plans on starting Vaughn in left field during the team’s Spring Training matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday. Overall, La Russa’s general tone echoed that of Hahn. The team has to move on and continue toward their goals. The roster might change, but the goals stay the same.
There is now an open spot in left field for competition as Spring Training winds down, so look for heightened performances from the aforementioned names. A decision needs to be made before the team travels to Anaheim for Opening Day 2021.