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Homer vs. Cubs will be tough to beat for White Sox’ Eloy Jimenez

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Eloy Jimenez’ pinch home run against the Cubs in Mesa last March might have been the highlight of the entire spring for the White Sox.

It was a big deal for Jimenez, who had badgered manager Rick Renteria into letting him get in the game against the team that traded him.

“It was amazing for me,” Jimenez said of his blast to right-center field against Cory Mazzoni which put the Sox in front in the eighth inning of a game that ended in a tie.

When the Sox play the Cubs today in Mesa, there’s a good chance Jimenez, who did not play against the Rockies Saturday, will be in the lineup. Jimenez has been starting every other day, a normal routine this early in spring training. Whatever happens, it will be hard to top what happened last year.

Eloy Jimenez. (AP)

“Yeah. I remember,” Jimenez said. “The first pitches were fastballs and after he tried to come in with a curve ball, and I hit it on my barrel.”

Jimenez and Dylan Cease came to the Sox in a trade that looks good for the Sox, although Jimenez and Cease have not yet played in the major leagues. MLB Pipeline ranks Jimenez and Cease No. 3 and 21 respectively, among prospects. Jimenez has no hard feelings.

“I understand,” he said. “This is a business. They needed a pitcher. They ask for Quintana and I was in that trade and I feel good now about it.”

Jimenez hasn’t gone deep yet this spring, but it’s early. He’s 2-for-11 with five strikeouts in four games.

Cease nearing first game

Whenever Dylan Cease throws off a mound, it’s kind of a big deal, even when it’s only live batting practice at 9 a.m. on the back fields.

The Sox are easing Cease, ranked 38th by Baseball America and 21st by MLB Pipeline among prospects, into the season. Even his simulated game sessions are easier than most — he threw just 23 pitches to catcher Zack Collins and a group of hitters Saturday.

“I know is eventually going to get me where I need to be so it’s just a necessary thing,” Cease said. “Sometimes the process gets a little tedious but that’s anything in life.”

Cease threw 124 innings between Class A and AA last season, with a 1.72 ERA at AA Birmingham. He will likely get called up to the majors sometime after the All-Star break.

“They probably have a formula on innings and what they want to see,” Cease said. “I want to pitch as many as I can. As many as they’re going to let me go, as long as it’s feeling good, I’m happy to do.”

Cease said he felt “great” Saturday and expects to pitch in his first Cactus League game in the next couple of days.

He’s back

Outfielder Micker Adolfo, in his first at-bat of the spring, homered against hard-throwing righty Thyago Veiera in an intrasquad on the back field. Then he homered in his fourth at-bat against prospect Luis Martinez, completing quite a morning.

Adolfo, who had Tommy John surgery in July, resumed hitting in late January and has been throwing for a few weeks. Before Saturday, he had been taking live batting practice.

“Good start to spring training,” Adolfo said. “I’m definitely feeling good. I just have to keep working on some things and getting better. The work is not done.”

Limited to DH duty because of the torn UCL, Adolfo posted a .282/.369/.464 slash line with 11 home runs and 50 RBIs for Class A advanced Winston-Salem. Baseball America touts the 6-3, 225-pound 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic as the No. 6 prospect in the organization and possessing the best throwing arm.

Adolfo is in the third week of a throwing program.

This and that

Outfielder Brandon Guyer is nursing a sore right (throwing) elbow and is limited to hitting only.

*Daniel Palka (hamstring) played in the intrasquad, his first game action since Sunday.

*Tim Anderson singled and doubled in his first two at-bats against the Rockies Saturday. He is 7-for-13 this spring.

*Carlos Rodon pitched three innings, wrapping a scoreless first and third around a three-run homer in the second by Pat Valaika.