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Newly promoted Robert adjusts to life in Minors

Heralded prospect envisions playing with fellow Cubans Abreu, Moncada
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- One year ago, Luis Robert was the marquee international addition, playing for the White Sox Dominican team with a $26 million signing bonus behind him.

Now, the 20-year-old outfielder is another Minor Leaguer and part of the White Sox system. OK, not just another Minor Leaguer: He's the No. 3 White Sox prospect and No. 26 overall per MLB Pipeline, adjusting to life after his recent promotion from Class A Kannapolis to Class A Advanced Winston-Salem.

CHICAGO -- One year ago, Luis Robert was the marquee international addition, playing for the White Sox Dominican team with a $26 million signing bonus behind him.

Now, the 20-year-old outfielder is another Minor Leaguer and part of the White Sox system. OK, not just another Minor Leaguer: He's the No. 3 White Sox prospect and No. 26 overall per MLB Pipeline, adjusting to life after his recent promotion from Class A Kannapolis to Class A Advanced Winston-Salem.

"Off the field, the schedule is different," Robert told MLB.com through interpreter Billy Russo during a recent phone interview, comparing life in the Minors to last year's Dominican playing experience. "You have to know about the busses, what time you have to be at the ballpark, what time you need to be in every specific place, according to the team schedule.

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"On the field, the pitchers think more. And I think that in every class, in every league, it's different and it's going to be harder because pitchers are better, and they are smarter, too."

Robert has a .286 average and .724 OPS, with five RBIs and five stolen bases overall this season. After an impressive showing at big league camp during Spring Training, Robert suffered a sprained ligament in his left thumb on March 9 and was out of official action until a debut with Kannapolis on June 5.

Some soreness continues to bother Robert, normal muscle soreness in the initial playing process after having his hand immobilized for an extended stretch. But there's no concern on the part of Robert or the White Sox.

"Just a little bit in my swing because of the soreness, some balls that I can usually hit harder and put in the air," said Robert of being hampered at all. "But because of the soreness in my wrist, I'm lowering my hands more than I used to and that's generating more ground balls and line drives. I'm working through it, and physically I'm feeling good."

Dealing with postgame spreads involving pizza and burgers has been an adjustment for the healthy-eating Robert. That diet issue won't be as much of a problem for Robert once he reaches the Majors.

That's an achievement falling probably two years away. It's one Robert still thinks about, especially the potential of winning a World Series title with fellow Cuban countryman Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada.

Video: OAK@CWS: Abreu grounds an RBI single through the hole

"Every Cuban ballplayer dreams of the idea of playing in the big leagues with fellow countrymen," Robert said. "In my case, if I have the opportunity to play with Abreu and Moncada, with all the experience they have, it would be a dream come true. We play the game with joy and respect the game, and we share that heritage. It's going to be very special if that happens.

"You think about the moment you are going to be able to make your debut in the Majors and to wear a Major League uniform, as every player does. In the meantime, my focus is just to get ready, keep learning, do my job in the Minors and continue with the development process.

"It's an honor to be among those players that the team considers as part of the future," Robert said. "It's going to be a future where we are going to win championships. It's a motivation to something that really connects with me. I'm just glad to be part of this organization."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada