Robert heads to IL with hip flexor strain

April 6th, 2024

KANSAS CITY -- moved decently around the White Sox clubhouse Saturday after suffering a Grade 2 right hip flexor strain in the ninth inning of Friday’s loss to the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, putting him on the injured list.

The pain might not have been visible, but it certainly was there for the All-Star center fielder.

“You prepare yourself to be in good condition, good shape to play every day and you're doing everything right,” said Robert through interpreter Billy Russo. “Then, when something like this happens, it's frustrating. You start second guessing why, try to find an explanation why.

“If you're doing everything you're supposed to do to stay healthy and you can't, it's very frustrating. That's the worst part. Mentally, it's tough."

Robert suffered this setback after doubling with one out against Will Smith. He hit the bag at first and began almost hopping on one leg due to the instant pain as he made the turn.

On May 2, 2021, Robert suffered a Grade 3 right hip flexor or a complete tear while running to first in a home game against Cleveland. He didn’t require surgery, but he didn’t return until Aug. 9, when Robert slashed .350/.389/.622 with 13 doubles, 12 home runs, 35 RBIs and 31 runs scored over his final 43 games.

According to Robert, this injury isn't as severe as that one. Yet, there is no timetable for his return.

“It will be longer than 10 days,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “I just don’t know how long it’s going to be. And I don’t think anybody knows. We can talk about it here until we’re blue in the face, but we don’t know how his body’s feeling, how he will react to this kind of stuff. Considering how strong he is and how much work he puts in in the offseason.”

“Similar, pretty similar to what happened, to what I felt in 2021, but not quite the same,” Robert said. “I think this time it's in the same area but a different spot. They're still trying to figure out how we're going to proceed.”

Right-handed hitting infielder Lenyn Sosa joined the White Sox from Triple-A Charlotte and started at second base in Game 3 of this weekend’s series. Dominic Fletcher started in center field, but veteran Kevin Pillar also will get some looks in the absence of Robert.

“I like playing everybody. Keeping everybody fresh, a part of it,” Grifol said. “Nice working roster right now. We can pinch hit, we can platoon some guys, we can do some things. We’ll do a lot of work pregame, pre-series and make sure we’ve got the right matchups.”

“Obviously, he’s one of the best players in the game,” said Fletcher of Robert. “Just kind of collectively as a team, kind of everyone has to step up and pick up some of that slack.”

There's plenty of slack to be had, especially offensively. The White Sox entered Saturday with a 1-6 record and just 13 runs scored, the fewest in Major League Baseball and the fewest for the South Siders since 1968, when they began with eight runs in seven games.

Designated hitter already was placed on the injured list with a left adductor strain, putting a crimp in the stated Spring Training goal of Jiménez, Robert and Yoán Moncada each playing at least 150 games. All three are supremely talented players. All three have had trouble staying healthy, let alone healthy on the field simultaneously.

“As I told you guys in Spring Training, that's what has been a challenge for us: trying to stay healthy,” Robert said. “For whatever reason, we can't play together, the full lineup, the whole time. That's the hardest part. For the team, that's the hardest part."

“We’ve got 26 Major Leaguers right here, ready to go,” Grifol said. “We’ve got to prepare and compete. We can’t spend one minute thinking about how we lost Robert, we lost Eloy and feeling sorry for ourselves. There’s another club over there on the other side trying to kick our [rear] tonight. We’ve got to rise up to the occasion. We’ve got to perform. That’s it."