White Sox OF Luis Robert hampered by hamstring tightness
CHICAGO (AP) — White Sox center fielder Luis Robert Jr. was out of the starting lineup Sunday, one day after he was pulled from a loss to Tampa Bay because he failed to hustle up the line on a grounder.
Robert jogged to first after he bounced to pitcher Calvin Faucher in the first inning Saturday, leading to a round of boos from the home crowd. First-year manager Pedro Grifol replaced Robert with a pinch hitter in the second.
The White Sox went on to a 12-3 loss to the Rays, extending their slide to 10 in a row.
Robert said he was trying to play through some right hamstring tightness and should have let Grifol know how he was feeling. Grifol said Robert's hamstring tightness — not his lack of hustle on the first-inning play — was the reason he was out of the lineup Sunday.
“When we are struggling as a ballclub like that, I think it’s human nature for them to want to be a part of us getting back on track. And I think he felt like he could play and help us,” Grifol said. “The problem is there was no communication.”
Robert entered the series finale as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. After he was hit by a pitch from Colin Poche, he was replaced by a pinch runner on a rainy, windy afternoon in Chicago.
“I contemplated and talked to him about even going to the outfield, but at the end of the day it just wasn’t worth it,” Grifol said after Chicago’s 12-9 victory. “One day of Luis Robert is not worth a month. That was the decision that was made.”
The 25-year-old Robert, one of the team's top sluggers, is off to a difficult start. He is batting just .213 with 33 strikeouts in 28 games.
Grifol said he spoke to Robert on Saturday night and again Sunday.
“I can’t stress this enough, we’re talking about a guy who works their butt off, plays hard every day and wants to win games, crashing into walls in the outfield, going from gap to gap,” Grifol said. “We’re not talking about a guy that this is a common occurrence here. It’s just a communication thing. It’s just a mistake. That’s it.”
Andrew Benintendi also was out of the lineup after the outfielder was hit by a pitch Friday. He entered as a pinch runner in the ninth inning and scored a run.
Grifol said Benintendi was feeling much better and the manager was optimistic about him playing on Tuesday against Minnesota.
Shortstop Tim Anderson and infielder Hanser Alberto also are expected to return for the opener of the three-game set against the Twins. Anderson and Alberto are on rehab assignments with Triple-A Charlotte.
Anderson, a two-time All-Star and the 2019 AL batting champion, sprained his left knee on April 10 at Minnesota. Alberto is coming back from a strained left quad.
Follow Jay Cohen at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Jay Cohen, The Associated Press