GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The clubhouse locker belonging to Luis Robert is nestled between José Abreu and Yoán Moncada. It's a trio with the potential to stand at the center of White Sox championship contention in the not-too-distant future.For now, these veterans and fellow Cuban natives are important sources of information
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The clubhouse locker belonging to Luis Robert is nestled between José Abreu and Yoán Moncada. It's a trio with the potential to stand at the center of White Sox championship contention in the not-too-distant future.
For now, these veterans and fellow Cuban natives are important sources of information for the 21-year-old Robert.
"Abreu is a veteran, he knows the league and he knows the things you need to do in order to get better," said Robert through interpreter Billy Russo after reporting to camp Sunday. "Moncada is a young guy, but he has experience, too.
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"Because he's younger, I can relate more with him. We're always trying to have fun, but they're always giving me advice on how to think, how to get a better routine and how to get better in order to take advantage of my abilities."
Robert is built more like an NFL safety than a center fielder but enters camp with hopes for a much healthier campaign. The No. 40 prospect overall and No. 4 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline was limited to 50 games and 186 at-bats in 2018 due to a left thumb ligament sprain sustained during Spring Training and pushing his season debut to June, and another left thumb ligament sprain sustained in-season at the end of June.
Getting 74 at-bats for Glendale in the Arizona Fall League helped Robert make up for lost time, hitting .324 with two home runs. He no longer felt soreness in his wrist, coming from compensating for the thumb soreness and sapping his power with Robert finding it tough to extend on his swing.
"When I started playing in the Fall League, my wrist and my thumb were perfect. I was playing pain-free and that was very important for me to have those stats, those results," Robert said. "When the season ended and I had a few weeks to rest before the Fall League, I think that rest helped the wrist and the thumb become completely healthy and strong."
Rutherford getting expert advice
Blake Rutherford, the No. 7 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, had a pretty good workout group to learn from this past offseason. That crew consisted of National League Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, Mike Moustakas, Tyler Saladino and Trevor Plouffe.
The California natives worked out together, hit together and threw together at the Easton Baseball Headquarters in Thousand Oaks, Calif. By the time Rutherford was departing, the group was going four times per week.
"Not only Christian but watching all those guys go about their work on a day-to-day basis and see how they prepare and talk to them about hitting and their mindset, I was excited for the opportunity again," Rutherford said. "They have a lot of fun.
"They mess with each other a lot. But when it comes down to business, they helped me a lot with my swing and I would just kind of watch, and we were all just working on stuff the whole offseason. I got a lot better working with those guys."
Rutherford has been working with Yelich since being drafted by the Yankees in 2016.
"Last year we got close, and this year he's almost like a bigger brother to me just looking out for me, talking and hanging out," Rutherford said. "It's been a lot of fun continuing to watch him have great years and continuing to learn from him and see the changes he makes in his game."
Fulmer feeling good
It was just his first live batting practice session of Spring Training, but Carson Fulmer had a tough time containing how good he was feeling.
"I feel so much better. My command is on point," Fulmer said. "I got ahead of a lot of hitters. I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes. I can't ask for anything else.
"It feels like I have my velocity back, my jump. Just something I had to work on this offseason and definitely see it here in camp."
Fulmer has returned to the delivery used when he excelled at Vanderbilt. He reached that point after going over a great deal of video in the offseason, including video from his work at Driveline Baseball in Seattle.
"I've always been a guy who likes to get down the mound pretty quick," Fulmer said. "It's all coming together. The first two bullpens were really good and today was even better. I think it's going to be a really good year for me."
They said it
"He's throwing a no-hitter." -- one White Sox hitter after Randall Delgado's first round of live BP on Sunday
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.