CHICAGO -- Eloy Jimenez was locked in last September.
The Chicago White Sox left fielder had a .340/.383/.710 slash line with eight doubles, nine home runs and 25 RBIs in the month to finish his rookie season with a flourish.
"At the beginning (of the season) I was just worrying about (how) I needed to play hard and I needed to do this and I needed to do that," Jimenez said during a conference call Saturday. "But at the end, I just said I'm going to play hard and if it's happening it's happening, if it's not, another day.
"I think that helped me a lot, that got me out of the pressure to just go and have fun. For me, that was the key last year at the end of the season."
Jimenez was named the American League Rookie of the Month for September. It capped a season in which he led all AL rookies in home runs (31), RBIs (79) and total bases (240). He became the 19th rookie in AL history to hit at least 30 home runs in a season, just the sixth time the feat had been accomplished since 1988.
Sox manager Rick Renteria said Jimenez is capable of picking up where he left off.
"His mindset is right," Renteria said Saturday. "You see him out there, he's moving around good. We're very optimistic that he's going to be able to continue what he's been doing. He's working out there."
First baseman Jose Abreu said a key for young players such as Jimenez is to "clear their mind."
"It's a challenge every day," Abreu said through an interpreter on Sunday. "He has talent. I think we all saw that last year. He's just going to improve and that's going to be good for us as a team and for him especially as a baseball player.
"I'm going to be there with him. If he needs something, whatever I can help him, I'm going to be there just to help him and support him. I think that's going to be a plus too, the same way I'm going to be there for Luis Robert."
Speaking of Robert, Jimenez is among the players stepping up to help the rookie transition to life in the big leagues.
"When I met him a couple years ago I said, 'When we play together I'm going to take care of you because you are my boy,' " Jimenez said. "Now, we are together and he has kind of the same contract like me and I know what it feels like and I'm going to help him."
Robert has appreciated the conversations the two have had.
"During spring training we talked a lot about this process, this new process for me as a rookie," Robert said through an interpreter on Monday. "He told me to never put my head down, stay positive always and work hard every day, that I am going to hit some bumps along the road in a long season, but if I keep working hard and stay confidence in myself I will adjust.
"Now, with a 60-game season, we haven't talked much about that but that will also apply. I will have to make adjustments faster."
Jimenez aims on making defensive adjustments. It has been an area of concentration, and he credits Renteria and coaches Daryl Boston and Joe McEwing for guidance.
"I feel like I get better every day," Jimenez said. "In spring training, I was much better than last year. I think I'm going to keep doing that, I'm going to keep getting better, getting better. I want to, one day, be a Gold Glove (winner). That's why I'm working hard every single day."
Jimenez is confident the strong end of last season is just the beginning of big things ahead.
"I feel really good, much better this year," he said. "This is my second year and I got experience last year. I think it's going to be better this year."
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