Eloy Jiménez spent part of his Wednesday on the guaranteed rate field, running from the free throw line in the shallow left field to midfield.
Not long ago, Jimenez had to be taken away in a game due to an injury that required surgery to repair a torn hamstring tendon behind his right knee.
He is on his way to recovery.
“I started running a few days ago and that’s the most important thing right now,” Jimenez said Tuesday. “Other than that, I’m feeling fine. We just want to make sure I can run well and see what happens.”
Jimenez was injured in the second inning of the game against Minnesota on April 23 and stumbled after crossing first base. He said the injury occurred before he touched the base.
“When I went down, I never thought there was anything bad (like) I couldn’t play (for as long as last season),” he said. “I was just a little down because I felt good. Then it happened. I felt good about the result and wish I could come back sooner.
“On the same day[of the surgery on April 26]I felt great. I was walking after the surgery. Yes, that was fast. I thought it would be longer, but now I feel fine and we will be back sooner or later. “
“You can ask Rick Hahn,” jokes Jiménez. “I feel good, but I don’t know.”
His return timeline is estimated to be six to eight weeks from the injury.
“He’s the product of a modern scientific miracle,” Red Sox manager Tony LaRusa said Thursday. “He was walking around and limping a few days after the operation. He was jogging, he was swinging. Now that actually means, what we don’t want to do is push it for X days, that would be unwise, and then lose him.
“So we’re going to make sure (we) build all the strength and stamina. But he’s really improving and it’s exciting that we’ll have him back.”
Currently, Jimenez is focused on running and swinging in the cage.
“I’m really happy (batting and running) because I didn’t expect to be back so soon,” he said.
On Thursday, the Red Sox opened a four-game series against the New York Yankees on a guaranteed field. They faced a dangerous offense that was second in the American League with 40 home runs. The lineup includes Aaron Judge (MLB-leading 10 homers), Anthony Rizzo (tied for 2nd with 9) and Giancarlo Stanton (tied for 11th with 7).
On Thursday, the Red Sox were 10th in the AL with 26 homers. They lacked a power in Jimenez, who had a homer and seven RBIs in 11 games.
“Every time I go out it’s hard,” said Jimenez, who was slashing .222/.256/.333. “And almost everyone knows that I love to play.
“But when I was in the dugout, I was cheering for my team. But I was like, ‘Oh my God, I want to play.'”
Jimenez played just 55 games last season after rupturing his left pectoral tendon in a Cactus League game. He hit .249/.303/.437 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs.
He hopes to learn from that time to help him through this recovery.
“I’m working with (batting coach) Frank (Menechino) to get my time back,” Jimenez said. “I know it’s going to be a little difficult. But we have the opportunity to play every day, so we’ll see.”
Jimenez doesn’t change those runs to first base whenever he comes back.
“I’m not going to stop doing what I think I can do,” Jimenez said. “It’s not going to stop me. I’m going to keep playing hard and that’s it.”