Eloy Jiménez may be on the verge of regaining his swing and ending his slump. After a long injury layoff, Jimenez struggled against the Worcester Red Sox two weeks ago
The rehab White Sox outfielder then showed solid signs in the Charlotte Knights’ series against the Durham Bulls a week ago. He only went 4 of 19 at home plate but hit a pair of home runs.
In Charlotte’s first game of the current series against the Gwinnett Stripers, which started Monday but was taken off Tuesday, Jiménez followed up his success with a 2-on-4 game, scoring a point and setting up another.
The Knights and Stripers are back Wednesday night at 7:05 a.m. in Georgia, and Jiménez has a chance to solidify his case to return to the majors.
THE KNIGHTS-STRIPERS SERIES AT A GLANCE
The two teams played the first game of their six-game series on Monday, with Gwinnett emerging 6-3 victorious. Charlotte and Gwinnett last met in early May, when the Stripers took four of six wins over the Knights.
The Knights split their last series against the Durham Bulls while the Stripers went 2-4 against the Norfolk Tides.
Gwinnett (38-41) enters Tuesday’s Game No. 8 in the International League West standings.
▪ Gwinnett player to watch: SP Kyle Muller
Southpaw Muller powered the Stripers’ rotation, starting 14 games and throwing to a 2.99 ERA. In his last start, the 24-year-old allowed just two runs in 5.1 innings.
Charlotte Knights players to watch
Mark Payton, DE
The 30-year-old Payton’s chances of being a top prospect are likely gone, but he’s been one of the Knights’ most consistent hitters. The outfielder is batting .282 with an .842 OPS after a 2-5 performance in Game 1 of the series against Gwinnett.
He is second on the team with 11 homers.
Carlos Perez, C.
Pérez is the only player with more home runs than Payton. The 25-year-old has 12 home runs in just 60 games to lead Charlotte. He beats .282 with an .815 OPS.
Xavier Fernandez – 1B
The Knights brought in Fernández from Birmingham in early June and the catcher/first baseman has been slow to adjust to the new level of competition.
He’s just hitting .186 after hitting .311 in Double-A, but there are signs of life. Fernández hit his first home run against Durham on July 3.